Sleep: The key to life

20120928-210828.jpg Today’s topic relates to why I didn’t post yesterday. Seriously, I am tired. Am I the only one who appreciates sleep more now than when I was in my teen to early 20 years? I remember being good off of 4hrs of sleep. Slowly I needed 6 hours. At 32 it is more like I need 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Unfortunately, sometimes I just don’t get it.

When people mention being fit the first thing that comes to mind is not being fat. Sorry guys but there’s more to it than just that. Being fit involves getting enough rest. Not getting enough sleep has been attributed to weight gain (Prevention Magazine). In theory, the more sleep you have the more energy you gain. When you don’t get enough sleep you don’t have enough energy so you eat. Most often you’re not eating apples and oranges rather your eating everything that a nutritionist would cringe at. Lack of sleep can also be linked to accidents, a decreased sex drive, heart attacks, etc. (WebMD).

While children require more sleep than adults, adults should be getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep. For some, getting that amount of sleep may be difficult. There are ways to rectify that. Some ways to do that include setting a routine. Bedtime should be around the same time each day. Foods with caffeine should be avoided before bedtime. Your sleeping area should be comfortable. These are just some of the ways that you can get that sleeping beauty type of sleep. For additional tips click here.

On that note, I think it’s time for me to call it a night. I didn’t follow my own advise and in additions to allergies beating me down, exhaustion is also messing with me. I am aiming for at least 7 hours before I start my busy Saturday. Sleep tight all.

Today’s prescription: Get some sleep. It’s the key to longevity.


In health,
Maliyka is health


Tick Tock: There goes that biological clock


As the person in charge of my Sorority’s Stork’s Nest I am responsible for facilitating the 1st session. Being a trained community health educator it is a walk in the park for me. Having recently partnered up with Harlem Hospitallocated in none other than Harlem, NY (for those that don’t know that is an area in Manhattan) we recently started our 2nd cohort on September 11th (how ironic). Now every time, I have facilitated a session, an interesting discussion has ensued. This time was no different.

I can proudly say that I am 32 years old. Not trying to brag but I look good. Aside from the weight that I could stand to lose (I’m losing it). My baby face has folks thinking that I am under 30 (not to long ago a woman told me I couldn’t come to a performance at a club because I wasn’t 21) quite often. The thing is, I don’t have any children. In my opinion and that of my mother that is not a bad thing. Coming from *drumroll* a mother who birthed 10 children and me being the oldest I just don’t feel the rush.

As always, when I facilitate the Stork’s Nest session, we talk about the basic things that people need to do while they are pregnant. We also talk about things that they need to look out for as well as what happens at each stage of their pregnancy in terms of development, doctor’s appointments and testing. The 11th was no different in terms of topics covered but the conversation add was enough to add another tick tock to tat dreaded biological clock. During our discussion about test like the amniocentesis I mentioned that unless there was a reason to think that there was a genetic disorder it really isn’t offered to you until you hit 35 years old when you are considered high risk. While discussing this, it came out that I was childless, 32 years old and not planning to have a child for at least 3 years. Doing the math for you, I would be 35 and as one of the women pointed out high risk. She’s right, I would but I am in no rush to move up my schedule.

I am at the age where a lot of my friends have children. This year alone, I have gained so many nieces and nephews via my friends that it’s hilarious. I promise you that I won’t remember any of their birthdays. Without fail, someone always insist that I need to have a child. My response to them is that I am too young. Out of 10 children, my mother only as 2 grandchildren and thankfully, she isn’t pressed for more. There is no question that, one day I do want to have children. I also understand that at 32 years of age having already lost about 90% of my eggs (keep in mind that women are born with all of the eggs that they will ever have) I may have increased difficulty in getting pregnant the longer I wait (ABC News) Honestly though, I am okay with that. Aging a child is a huge step and I know that I am not ready for it. It pisses me off when I ear of mothers throwing their baby in the trash like garbage. Aside from not getting pregnant there are other options. I am not worried that I may have difficulty in getting pregnant. If it is meant to be, it will happen. If not I will adopt. Articles like the one the New York Times put out don’t scare me. My ovaries may look older than my real age but so what. There are already to many people in the world using up resources that are becoming scarce such as water that one less person populating really isn’t a bad thing.

So yeah, after that conversation happened, my clock did tick tock a little louder but I politely hit the snooze button. I refuse to be ruled by the proverbial biological clock. This body belongs to me (God really loaned it to me but you get my point). No one has the right to tell me when I should get pregnant and even when they do I smile and say I am too young to have a baby. After all, I really am.

Today’s Prescription: when it comes to life changing events don’t rush. Granted you are not promised forever but that is not an excuse do things haphazardly. This applies to having children. Family planning is a lost art.

In health,
Maliyka is health


Service in the name of health: Double Up 4 Vision

For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to talk about for Talk about it Tuesday. I started writing one thing and then decided against it. It wasn’t a bad post. I just didn’t want to talk about it. Then it came to me. Today’s post should be dedicated to one of my endeavors.

For those who know me, you know that I am all about service. I even joined a Sorority whose founding principles included service. Loving service the way that I do is probably why I fell in love with the public health field. There is nothing but service in this field. I am in service heaven. A lot of times the service that I am involved with need some type of physical movement on my part. My newest service for the year is no different. i will actually be riding my bike. On October 13th, participating in the Double up 4 Vision race.

Double up 4 Vision is a race hosted by Lighthouse International. For over 106 years, Lighthouse International has fought the good fight against vision loss through prevention, treatment, and empowerment. As a person who wears glasses and has an increased risk due to familial history of having severe vision issues, this organization is dear to me. My maternal grandmother, God bless her soul was legally blind in one eye. She has glaucoma and was using drops for as long as I can remember. A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with glaucoma. While I do not have glaucoma, I am at risk and find myself going to the eye doctor several times a year. So many people of color have vision issues secondary to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Programs such as Lighthouse International are necessary in fighting the good fight. Personally, I can’t imagine being blind. I don’t even want to be legally blind.

I look forward to riding my bike in this race. I ride for all of those who can’t see but wish that they could. Being able to see for many is a luxury that not everyone can afford. I ask that you support my endeavors and give to my cause. If you happen to be on the sidelines watching, I will be the one with the purple and white bike with huffy written in gold. You can donate here. I promise you no amount is to small and is appreciated.

Today’s prescription: Appreciate the little things and take nothing for granted. No pun intended, but in the blink of an eye what you knew yesterday could be gone today.

In health,

Maliyka is health

Mental Health: A fact of life


Depression, schizophrenia, paranoid, bi-polar, etc., etc. At one point these words have been said around us possibly even directed towards us. We all know someone who has been labeled with one of these words. That someone might just be you. Regardless of who it may be, the stigma tied to all of these diagnosis is ugly.

Mental illness affects so many people from so many walks of life. It does not see color, ethnicity, finances, gender, etc. Rather it sees people. In the United States, mental health is a huge problem. Public Health folks like myself, are constantly looking at this complex health issue. According to the World Health Organization, “mental illness results in more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. Other published studies report that about 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and that nearly 50% of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime (CDC). Mental illness also places a financial burden on society. In the United States alone, it cost about $300 billion. That was in 2002. With the increasing new diagnosis, I am sure that oat has skyrocketed.

Real talk, mental illness is a disease that one really as no control over. Abstinence won’t prevent it. Money doesn’t stop it from happening. Love has no hold over it. Just as easily as you were sane yesterday, today you could be diagnosed as mentally ill. It is a disease that deserves a high amount of awareness. It is a disease that some communities i.e. African-American need to understand exist within their ranks too.

To the mentally ill, know that you are loved. You are not alone. Someone can help you. If you need help but don’t know where to turn here are some resources:

Mental Health America by State

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Web MD Mental Helpline List

Today’s prescription: take a deep breath and breathe. Try not to stress over the little things. Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness (Richard Carlson).

In health,
Maliyka is health

Maliyka is health


Since my inception into the public health realm, I constantly find myself asking myself just what is good health. All of the definitions state that good health is the absence of disease. Personally, that definition seems to broad. What happens if you do have a disease but in spite of the disease you are healthy? You are not suffering from any opportunistic infections. You have no co-morbidity. To the outside world, you are as healthy as the healthy person. Just what category do you fall under?

It is questions like this that run the mind of us folks who have taken on the role as a health educator. The who’s, why’s , what’s, where’s and how’s are always front in center in our mind. We are agents of change. We don’t go into the field of health for money. Rather we do it because we have a love for it. We seek to make this a better world for those that live in it. At least, that is why I went into the field. The only way I will be a millionaire is if I marry rich or hit the lottery. I am content in being Maliyka A. Muhammad…public health agent.

This blog will talk about all of the issues that relate to public health. There won’t be a drama fest unless it relates to hunting for the best answer surrounding a complex health education. Each day, Monday-Friday I will talk about a different as it relates to a different topic. The topics are:

Mental health Mondays
Talk about it Tuesday
Women’s Wednesday
Man-up Thursday
Fit Friday

Feel free to drop me a note if you have a specific question that you want answered. Talk about it Tuesday is dedicated to just that. On that note sit back and enjoy my world as I navigate throught it as a public health agent.

The prescription for the day is be happy and healthy. It’s the key to good health.

In health,
Maliyka is health