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Archive for November, 2010

Improve Sleep With a Hot Tub

November 11th, 2010 by

asleep-in-a-hot-tub-2

Sleep Benefits of Hot Tubs

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 70 million people in the United States are affected by sleep problems. A poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that 43% of women surveyed say that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities.

How much do you know about getting a good night’s rest? Take the below quiz to test your knowledge:

  1. Snoring is a common problem, especially among men, but it isn’t harmful. (True / False)
    False. Snoring can be a symptom of a sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing that prevent air from flowing into or out of a sleeping person’s airways. People with sleep apnea awaken frequently during the night gasping for breath.
  2. You can improve sleep with a hot tub followed by a book or soothing music. (True / False)
    True. Hot tubs help you sleep. Soothing music helps you sleep. Relaxing books help you sleep. These are all calming activities you can routinely do before bedtime to help separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety. Avoid arousing activities before bedtime like working, paying bills, engaging in competitive games or family problem-solving. Avoid exposure to bright before bedtime because it signals the neurons that help control the sleep-wake cycle that it is time to awaken, not to sleep.
  3. You can “cheat” on the amount of sleep you get. (True / False)
    False. Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we do not get sufficient sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting deprivation has been linked to obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.
  4. It is important to maintain a daily bed and wake time including weekends. (True / False)
    True. Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a “circadian clock” in our brain and the body’s need to balance both sleep time and wake time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help with sleep onset at night. That is also why it is important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep-in.
  5. Turning up the radio, opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving. (True / False)
    False. These “aids” are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. If you’re feeling tired while driving, the best thing to do is to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. However, it takes about 30 minutes before the effects are felt. The best prevention for drowsy driving is a good night’s sleep the night before your trip.
  6. Teens who fall asleep in class have bad habits and/or are lazy. (True / False)
    False. According to sleep experts, teens need at least 8.5 – 9.25 hours of sleep each night, compared to an average of seven to nine hours each night for most adults. Their internal biological clocks also keep them awake later in the evening and keep them sleeping later in the morning. However, many schools begin classes early in the morning, when a teenager’s body wants to be asleep. As a result, many teens come to school too sleepy to learn.
  7. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep. (True / False)
    False. Difficulty falling asleep is just one of four symptoms generally associated with insomnia. The others include waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed. Insomnia can be a symptom of a sleep disorder or other medical or psychological/psychiatric problem, and can often be treated. When insomnia symptoms occur more than a few times a week and impact a person’s daytime functions, the symptoms should be discussed with a doctor or other health care provider
  8. Daytime sleepiness always means a person isn’t getting enough sleep. (True / False)
    False. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a condition in which an individual feels very drowsy during the day and has an urge to fall asleep when he/she should be fully alert and awake. The condition, which can occur even after getting enough nighttime sleep, can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. These problems can often be treated, and symptoms should be discussed with a physician.
  9. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression are unrelated to the amount and quality of a person’s sleep. (True / False)
    False. Studies have found a relationship between the quantity and quality of one’s sleep and many health problems. For example, insufficient sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity; as the amount of hormone secretion decreases, the chance for weight gain increases. Blood pressure usually falls during the sleep cycle. However, interrupted sleep can adversely affect this normal decline, leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Research has also shown that insufficient sleep impairs the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. More and more scientific studies are showing correlations between poor and insufficient sleep and disease.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

Hot Tub Supplies – Tax Deductible?

November 1st, 2010 by

form-502 Hot Tub Supplies – a Tax Write-Off?

According to the 502 publication of the IRS some medical costs can be deducted when filing income tax. In its opinion letter Index No.: 213.05-00, “Section 213(a) allows as a [tax] deduction the expenses paid during the taxable year for medical care of the taxpayer, spouse, or dependent. Under § 213(d)(1)(A), an expense is for ‘medical care’ if its primary purpose is the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.

If a medical professional has diagnosed a medical condition that can be cured or relieved with hydrotherapy or swimming, a consumer may be able to claim a hot tub purchase as a tax deduction. Because a hot tub or spa is of a particularly personal nature, the consumer must establish that a hot tub is primarily for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease before the cost can be deducted.

ThermoSpas, a national hot tub manufacturer and retailer, encourages those suffering who may benefit physically or mentally from warm water therapy, to discuss the benefits of a hot tub or pool with a qualified medical care professional.

Capital improvement expenses can be deducted for the installation of special equipment in the home. The purpose of its installation should be for medical care of either the spouse or any of the dependents living in that home. Those improvements that increase the value of property can be included partially as medical expenses. If the improvements have absolutely no effect on property value the entire cost of installation can be considered as a medical expense. Consumers may need to have property appraised to determine if the value has or has not increased.

Consumers who have purchased a hot tub or spa for medical benefits to contact both medical and tax professionals before deducting the cost of the hot tub or any related equipment.

NOTE: You must have a Doctor’s prescription to write off a spa or hot tub, hot tub covers, spa chemicals or supplies. And, before you run out to buy a spa, check with a tax professional in your area to be sure that your hot tub can be a write-off on your Federal or State tax returns.