We are all going to be springing forward Sunday morning as we set our clocks ahead one hour. But, is that an innocent action as far as our body is concerned? WebMd has some useful tips on the temporal alteration.
The daylight-saving time change will force most of us to spring forward and advance our clocks one hour. This effectively moves an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, giving us those long summer nights. But waking up Monday morning may not be so easy, having lost an hour of precious sleep and perhaps driving to work in the dark with an extra jolt of java. How time changes actually affect you depends on your own personal health, sleep habits, and lifestyle.
Moving our clocks in either direction changes the principal time cue — light — for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle, or circadian rhythm. In doing so, our internal clock becomes out of sync or mismatched with our current day-night cycle. How well we adapt to this depends on several things.
In general, “losing” an hour in the spring is more difficult to adjust to than “gaining” an hour in the fall. It is similar to airplane travel; traveling east we lose time. An “earlier” bedtime may cause difficulty falling asleep and increased wakefulness during the early part of the night. Going west, we fall asleep easily but may have a difficult time waking.
I have written previously about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Must admit that I would not have guessed that one of the keys was right under my nose.
Forget counting sheep. If you really want a good night’s sleep, all you may need is your romantic partner’s favorite T-shirt wrapped around your pillow.
New research accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep. This is true regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware that the scent is even present. Continue reading
This is probably something more appropriate for with first week of January, not the fourth. Better late than never. Johns Hopkins Medicine has some very useful information here.
The new year can be an exciting time, brimming with the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. It’s also an opportunity to recommit to your health and well-being: Eat better. Exercise three times each week. Drink more water.
Creating these resolutions is easy enough. Sticking to them beyond the month of January, however, is another story. Continue reading
I am a big believer in getting a good night’s sleep. When I was in the working world I thought of sleep as an unwelcome interruption in my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sleep is a wonderful chance for the brain to reboot and your body to repair any physical mishaps. To learn more about the value of sleep please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?
Sleep-deprived subjects gobbled doughnuts and potato chips
Brain zeroes in on smells of energy-rich food
After sleepless night, your ‘tired’ nose fails to talk to brain regions directing food choices
When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to reach for doughnuts, fries and pizza. A new Northwestern Medicine study has figured out why you crave more calorie-dense, high-fat foods after a sleepless night — and how to help thwart those unhealthy choices. Continue reading
No matter how much you exercise, you can’t outrun your fork. If you are eating too much, you may be doing serious damage to yourself. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter offers the following ideas.
These tips may help to curb overeating:
–Focus on NUTRITIONAL quality of food. Highly-processed foods may be more likely to trigger craving and overeating.
–Avoid distractions. Focus on the food you’re eating and slow down to increase odds of recognizing when you’ve had enough.
–Don’t get too hungry. It may be harder to control food intake and choices when the body’s systems are all screaming for food.
–Address stress. Look for ways to cut down on exposure to stressful situations. Try stress-reducing techniques such as meditation and exercise to cut down on stress eating.
–Avoid temptation. Fill your pantry with healthy choices that you enjoy, not highly-palatable highly-processed junk food.
–Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.
–Get enough Sleep. Ensure you get at least seven hours a night.
–Support policy change. Government and industry policy changes can improve access to healthy choices and make portions smaller.
Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestions in this blog over the past nine plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:
Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling
“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “
As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.
Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, according to the University of Arizona Health Sciences.
Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, a study by University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers stated.
The study was conducted via a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3,105 adults from 23 U.S. metropolitan areas. Participants were asked if they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and whether lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also were asked about their sleep quality and existing health problems. Continue reading
As an old retired guy, I have to look backwards to remember the intensity of the engagement I felt when I was in the working world. I remember that I considered going to sleep an intrusion on my productive day. I often failed to get a good night’s sleep. Ditto on weekends, you could usually find me in the office on Saturdays. Turns out that neither of those actions was wise.
I am now in my 18th year of retirement. I have been writing this blog for nearly eight years. I think one of the best posts I have done is my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? I hope you will check it out. Recharging is one of the best and healthiest activities there is for our brain and body. A kind of corollary of not enough sleep is that prolonged sitting hurts us. You can check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? for more details.
I have written extensively about how important a good night’s sleep is to living a healthy life. Now, it seems there are potential psychological vulnerabilities, too. I will give the link at the end of post.
Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and former graduate student Jacob Nota assessed the timing and duration of sleep in individuals with moderate to high levels of repetitive negative thoughts (e.g., worry and rumination). The research participants were exposed to different pictures intended to trigger an emotional response, and researchers tracked their attention through their eye movements. The researchers discovered that regular sleep disruptions are associated with difficulty in shifting one’s attention away from negative information. This may mean that inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives . Continue reading
Children who eat fish at least once a week sleep better and have IQ scores that are 4 points higher, on average, than those who consume fish less frequently or not at all, according to new findings from the University of Pennsylvania published in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal.
Previous studies showed a relationship between omega-3s, the fatty acids in many types of fish, and improved intelligence, as well as omega-3s and better sleep. But they’ve never all been connected before. This work, conducted by the School of Nursing’s Jianghong Liu, Jennifer Pinto-Martin and Alexandra Hanlon and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Adrian Raine, reveals sleep as a possible mediating pathway, the potential missing link between fish and intelligence. Continue reading
Elsewhere in the blog I have written repeatedly about the how valuable it is to get a good night’s sleep. For a full rundown, please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?
In the meantime, here is an excellent study from Harvard Medical School on our vulnerability to our evening illumination.
Exposure to blue light at night, emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs, harmful to your health.
Until the advent of artificial lighting, the sun was the major source of lighting, and people spent their evenings in (relative) darkness. Now, in much of the world, evenings are illuminated, and we take our easy access to all those lumens pretty much for granted.
But we may be paying a price for basking in all that light. At night, light throws the body’s biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack. Sleep suffers. Worse, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Continue reading
There are some really nice positive ideas here. What seem like little things often count plenty in the big picture.
Our Better Health
Let’s do a roll call: who here has been giving themselves a hard time lately? If this is you, it’s time to cut yourself some slack! You may not realize it, but there are countless things you accomplish every day that are absolutely praiseworthy.
No, really! If we don’t give ourselves credit for the small stuff, how can we feel comfortable patting on ourselves when we accomplish something massive?
The next time you start doubting yourself and your capabilities, reflect on this list as a reminder of all that you do that is right as rain. And give yourself some credit – you really deserve it.
1. Catching Some ZZZs
Getting enough sleep every night is not an easy feat! Whether we’re a working parent of triplets or someone who is struggling with managing their anxiety levels, the fact that we get as many ZZZs as we can is a…
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I think that deciding to live a healthy life is a far more rewarding goal than ‘losing a few pounds.’ Unfortunately, I think peoples’ eyes glaze over contemplating the general idea of living a health life. Whereas, lopping off a few offending pounds resonates. Statistics show that 60 percent of us are overweight and half of those folks are outright obese. So, we need to know some weight loss techniques. I think Harvard does a good job on this list from the Harvard Heart Letter.
1. Make time to prepare healthy meals
Home-cooked food tends to be far lower in calories, fat, salt, and sugar than restaurant food and most processed food. But it takes time and effort to choose recipes, go to the store, and cook. Take a close look at your weekly schedule to see if you can carve out a few hours to devote to meal planning and shopping, which is more than half the battle, says Dr. Blackburn. It could be on Sunday afternoon or in 15- to 30-minute increments throughout the week. Continue reading
Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of living a healthy life. I felt strongly enough about it to devote an entire Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? to it. My assumption was that you are using no extraneous methods of getting yourself down. I don’t recommend taking any kind of drugs to help yourself get to sleep. There are a number of relaxation methods that work wonders and have no ill effects. The Harvard Health Letter warns about taking sleep aids.
Millions of Americans rely on prescription sleep medications, called sedative hypnotics, to fall asleep. While the drugs can help people get a decent night’s rest, they are not designed for long-term use. “Each of the pills has its own risks,” says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Types of sleep aids
Sedative hypnotics fall into three categories.
Melatonin-receptor agonists such as ramelteon (Rozerem) leave the body quickly. They target melatonin receptors in the brain and are not thought to be habit-forming. Continue reading
Have you ever tried to recall something just before going to sleep and then wake up with the memory fresh in your mind? While we absorb so much information during the day consciously or unconsciously, it is during shut eye that a lot of facts are dispatched to be filed away or fall into oblivion. A good quality sleep is the best way to feel mentally refreshed and memorize new information, but how is the brain working while we sleep? Could we improve such process to remember more, or maybe even use it to forget unwanted memories?
I would just like to add that my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? includes further information on how the brain benefits from good sleep habits.
Scientists at the Center for Cognition and Sociality, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), enhanced or reduced mouse memorization skills by modulating specific synchronized brain waves during deep sleep. This is the first study to show that manipulating sleep spindle oscillations at the right timing affects memory. The full description of the mouse experiments, conducted in collaboration with the University of Tüebingen, is published in the journal Neuron.
The research team concentrated on a non-REM deep sleep phase that generally happens throughout the night, in alternation with the REM phase. It is called slow-wave sleep and it seems to be involved with memory formation, rather than dreaming. Continue reading