Sleep deficit, and the reasons why it needs to be avoided

Friday, 8 April, 2016

Lack of sleep, or sleep deficit, is a problem in the US and the UK, and I should think, elsewhere as well. While it may be easier to say than to do, there are a number of compelling reasons why we need to make a full night’s sleep a priority.

The report pointed out that consistent poor sleep has been linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and death (from any cause) in several studies. Researchers think prolonged routines of short sleep may raise 24-hour blood pressure, heart rate, salt retention, and activity of the sympathetic nervous system (what controls the body’s fight-or-flight response), all of which can lead to hypertension.

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And now for information that is useful… how to start running

Wednesday, 6 April, 2016

The Internet, I’m sorry, internet, is a fount of knowledge, that leaves no gaps in our knowledge. Pick a topic, anything at all, and you’re bound to an array of articles and resources relating to it. The question is though, how much of this information is actually useful? I guess that depends on who is looking up information on whatever they’re interested in.

Here is something useful though, how to start running. It’s a great source of exercise, and goes along way to reducing stress as well, to name a couple of benefits. This is knowledge to acquire.

The absolute best way to keep yourself running is to find a race, sign up for it, pay for it and put it on your calendar. A fixed race date will help you stay focused, and keep you on a regular running schedule. A beginner can run any race – you just need to allow enough time to train for it.

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The desire to constantly joke is no joke, in fact it may be an illness

Friday, 11 March, 2016

People who feel compelled to constantly tell jokes – and by constantly I mean during their every waking hour, and then some – may be suffering from a medical disorder known as witzelsucht.

One of the first noted cases of this pathological joking emerged in the strangest circumstances by the German neurologist Otfrid Foerster in 1929. Foerster was operating on a male patient to remove a tumour. The man was still conscious – as was common practice at the time – but as he started manipulating the cancerous growth, the man suddenly erupted in a “manic flight of speech”, compulsively recounting pun after awful pun.

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The brain peaks at 20, and then it’s down hill right? Don’t be so sure

Monday, 7 March, 2016

Fluid intelligence, being our ability to both remember, and make decisions quickly, declines from about age twenty. That’s not to say it’s all down hill from then. Apparently different regions of the brain peak at different times of our lives.

Crystallised intelligence, or facts and knowledge that we have built up, for instance, may not reach a height until we are about seventy.

“At any given age, you’re getting better at some things, you’re getting worse at some other things, and you’re at a plateau at some other things. There’s probably not one age at which you’re peak on most things, much less all of them,” says Joshua Hartshorne, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and one of the paper’s authors.

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A sort of handy checklist should you need to see a podiatrist

Thursday, 18 February, 2016

I don’t go to podiatrists all that often, so I guess it’s useful to know what do to prepare, should you ever need to see a foot doctor. I thought it would be as straightforward as making an appointment, but apparently not…

List all the medications, vitamins and supplements you’re taking and wish you could take, including non-medical marijuana, if it were legal in your state or didn’t require a humiliating meet up with a local high school student in the grocery store parking lot.

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Has a remedy for sleep paralysis been devised?

Wednesday, 20 January, 2016

Sleep paralysis is an unsettling experience, whereby you feel trapped in your apparently motionless body, for what seems like an inordinate amount of time. I have several brushes with the phenomenon each year, which is induced, ironically, by a lack of sleep, and also by lying on your back, which I had always believed was the best sleeping position.

Thankfully sleep paralysis, of itself, isn’t anything to worry about. It doesn’t point to some other nastier disorder, and the sensation is usually short lived. If that’s not enough though, a Meditation-Relaxation (MR) therapy has been developed, that you may like to try:

The simple treatment method, called Meditation-Relaxation (or MR) therapy, comes across as a nod to the mind-body connection – the sort of kumbaya “think good thoughts” exercise that might appeal to yogis more than post-docs. But, the simplicity of the treatment belies the immersive case reports and theories about parietal lobe disturbance that give it heft (and probably lab cred). Unlike treatment for nightmares, MR therapy can be performed during an attack to temper or potentially end it altogether.

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I’m actively active buying active wear but otherwise I’m inactive

Tuesday, 15 December, 2015

Australians are increasingly becoming obese. Thirty years ago sixty percent of adults were of a healthy weight, today that has dropped to thirty-five percent.

That’s not only alarming for the nation as a whole, but also the individuals who fall on the wrong side of that ratio. On top of that, these people also stand to miss out on incentives that some health insurance providers are offering to members, who they consider are fit.

These numbers however conflict with the view on the street. Go to any busy city centre, park, beach, or retail complex, and you’ll see no shortage of people clad in work-out and running gear, or active wear. And how about all those yoga mats you see slung across many of those lycra adorned shoulders?

Surely a turnaround in obesity numbers is on the cards, if so many people are becoming more active? Unfortunately not, what you see is largely a false positive. Many of those attired in active wear are making a statement about their fashion tastes, rather than any interest in fitness.

It’s part of what Julie Stevanja, founder of online fitness clothing retailer Stylerunner, calls a lifestyle change, rather than a trend. Instead of wearing say a t-shirt and jeans when they want to dress casually, people have taken to dressing in active wear.

That’s not to say adherents are inactive, or uninterested in fitness, many are, just not everyone. Who knows though, perhaps dressing as such might encourage more people to consider becoming more physically active, which may make a dent in the obesity numbers.

For the entrepreneurs among us though, there’s a lesson in picking out trends, or lifestyle changes, before they become established. Stylerunner, whose customers are from both camps, now has a turnover of close to ten million dollars a year. Wouldn’t you rather be dressed in active wear?

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Don’t worry, be unhappy, at least it won’t affect your health

Monday, 14 December, 2015

Is happiness the key to a long life? While the notion appears to make clear sense, it may not necessarily be the case. In other words, unhappiness, of itself, may not be a health hazard, according to the conclusions of a recent study:

In an initial analysis, the Lancet ​study did find an association between mortality and unhappiness, but that association disappeared once they adjusted for baseline health. “I think the interesting implication is we’ve got very few things that really matter as far as health is concerned,” Peto says. He names smoking and obesity as two things that are very good predictors of mortality. But unhappiness, it seems, is not at all on their level.

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It’s possible to be too clean? Surely not?

Monday, 23 November, 2015

Long showers, possibly several times a day, may feel as if they are at the forefront of a healthy, clean, lifestyle, but the reality sounds like another matter all together. Being “too clean” runs the risk of removing too much of the “good bacteria” that helps keep us in good health:

Overall obsessive washing “disrupts the normal flora which keep you healthy by competing with harmful organisms”, says Ruebush. “Operating your immune system in an environment of sterility is like a sensory deprivation for the brain. Eventually, it goes insane, thus the increased amount of allergy and autoimmunity associated with persons who try too hard to avoid all exposure to anything in their environment,” she says. A long shower every day may not be advisable, as it removes the “good bacteria” from our skin. But you should wash around your genitals and anywhere you sweat a lot. And you should change your underwear every day.

So now you know.

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I was actually quite ill until my sickness was revealed to be a hoax

Friday, 13 November, 2015

If you’re going to, for whatever reason, fake an illness, and then begin posting about it online, again for whatever reason, be sure your deception doesn’t come to the attention of Taryn Wright, a Chicago based Futures trader by day, and hoax hunter the rest of the time:

In the last three years, I’ve chronicled 17 different hoaxes on my blog, often exposing the identities of the people behind them. A few of the hoaxers were scammers trying to make money, but the majority manipulated people online just for the attention that comes when you have a sob story.

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