Health-Care Reform to Use at Home This Holiday Season

From the snow-shoveling heart attack to the never-ending swine flu, the best doctor we know staves off end-of-the-year calamities. Because the holidays can kill you, Dr. Oz has stepped in to offer last-minute, life-saving tips for the days ahead.

Which bad-health ruts should I avoid while eating and drinking during the holidays?The first is lack of sleep. You've got parties to go to, family to visit, you're not sleeping in your own bed - it wears you down. I avoid sleeping aids if I can, so instead try an old trick: naps. Even 20 minutes in the afternoon can make a huge difference in your energy level. Second is alcohol. Calories, hangovers, and mood swings generally do not make for merriment. At the same time, a hot toddy can make all the Bing Crosby music easier to deal with. What can I say? Drink in moderation. And alternate each drink with a glass of water. The third is exercise. Each morning, before anything else, do a quick and simple workout.

Do people really have heart attacks while shoveling snow?
Here's the thing: The shoveling doesn't cause the heart attack; it accelerates its arrival. In other words, if that little bit of activity triggers a heart attack, he was probably going to have one anyway. But if he's in decent health, he can shovel away.

We'll be traveling a lot. Any tricks for avoiding jet lag?
Two. One is just to stick close to your natural sleep routine instead of trying to adjust. Even coast to coast, the difference is only three hours, so if you go to bed at midnight in D.C., try going to bed at, say, ten at Grandma's in Sacramento. But if you want to adjust, take melatonin. (Pills are available at any drugstore.) It helps the brain adapt more quickly to a new sleep cycle.

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