Rx for Readers: Stresses over sleep lines

Readers get answers for their medical and health queries.

Sleep disorder (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Sleep disorder
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
 I am a 45-year-old woman. I usually sleep on my side. When I wake up in the morning, I see lines on my face on the side that touches the pillow. It takes a few hours for them to straighten out. I was wondering whether sleeping in this position could cause permanent wrinkles when I get older. What would a dermatologist advise? -T.T., Bat Yam
Veteran dermatologist Dr. Robert Norman of Tampa, Florida, replies: Sleeping on your pillow the same way every night for years can lead to wrinkles.
They are called “sleep lines” and indeed can eventually become etched on the surface of the skin. Men often notice these lines on the forehead because they often tend to sleep with their face pressed down on the pillow.
Women tend to sleep on their sides and are most likely to see these lines appear on their chin and cheeks.
What should you do? Sleep on your back so that you don’t develop these wrinkles. Whatever you do, however, get enough sleep so that you are rested and feel good.
I am a 56-year-old woman in good health. A friend of mine about the same age told me she has started to do facial exercises to improve her skin. It has been only a short time, so I haven’t noticed any change in her face. But do they help reduce or prevent facial wrinkles?
-A.N., Ashdod
Dr. Norman answers this question too: You want to maintain a youthful look, but facial exercises that are repetitive can actually lead to fine lines and wrinkles. A groove forms just beneath the surface of the skin each time we use a facial muscle. Facial expression equals lines. As we age, the bounce in our skin (elasticity) diminishes. The skin stops returning to its line-free state, and the wrinkles and grooves stay. Thus, tell your friend to cut out the facial exercises and don’t do them yourself. Look for better alternatives.
Many friends of mine who don’t suffer from celiac disease tell me that they’ve stopped eating gluten because they heard this is more healthful. It sounds like nonsense to me. I’d like to know if a no-gluten diet is good for someone who has no celiac disease or whether it can even be harmful. -Z.T., Petah Tikva
Prof. Eran Goldin, head of the gastroenterology department of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, replies: In fact, there are people who don’t suffer from celiac disease who feel an improvement in their stomachaches, if they have them, when they stop eating grains that contain gluten. One can always try it in such a situation, and if it doesn’t help, they can stop. There are people who have problems resulting from a specific food they eat. But if people don’t suffer from gastroenterological problems, there is no need to stop eating gluten.
R.S., a reader of this column, refers to a previous query by G.S. and a doctor’s response on having a gassy stomach:
I would like to give G.S. some practical advice, as I have begun suffering from the same problem as I get older, causing severe pain and distention. First and foremost, my gastroenterologist correctly told me to avoid all foods containing lactose, as my body had stopped manufacturing lactase. This helped greatly but was not enough.
I suggest that G.S. try, in addition to avoiding lactose, a process of elimination.
Try eating a possibly problematic food – one at a time – and see the reaction. Everyone has different sensitivities.
I, after seeing my stomach’s reaction to various foods after adding them one at a time to my diet, now avoid rice, cabbage, bean sprouts and vinegar. Wheat products have been supplanted by rye in my diet. Some people find sourdough bread better than yeast breads, but it did not help me. When I succumb to temptation for my “forbidden foods,” I am miserable afterwards.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting.
Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538- 9527, or e-mail it to [email protected], giving your initials, age and place of residence.