Posts Tagged ‘sleep’
Dr. David Nash wrote an interesting article on KevinMD.com, noting ”an unprecedented groundswell of interest in health and wellness — and the corresponding emergence of a Wellbeing Economy.” He described the Wellbeing Economy as accounting for “the health, social, and economic factors that affect the wellbeing of individuals, countries, and the world we live in.”
Examples included wellness programs in corporations and insurance plans, new university classes & degree programs stressing wellness, new research & technology developments, public sector policies on the federal & state level, and changes in health care delivery that includes wellness programs in retail clinics. But Nash did not mention the relationship between Sleep and Wellness, so I added the following comment.
Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist at the University of Oxford in Cambridge. He studies sleep and its role in our lives, examining how our perception of light influences our sleep-wake rhythms.
In this TED Talk (below) Foster asks, “What do we know about sleep?”
Not much, it seems, and that’s surprising for something that occupies one-third of our lives. Foster shares three theories about why we sleep:
- Energy Conservation (saving calories, unlikely);
- Restoration of the body (yes, tied to good health); and
- Improving Brain Function, including memory consolidation and enhanced creativity.
He also busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health. Read the rest of this entry »
If you are a family caregiver, think about how much time do you spend, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Some 65 million unpaid family caregivers look after elderly or disabled loved ones, averaging 20 hours/wk. AARP did a study that put the 2009 annual burden on unpaid family caregivers at $480 billion/year, including lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending and nearly as much as the $509B in Medicare spending.
The infographic below, from Top10OnlineColleges.org, identifies JOB stress as a leading factor in poor health, but so is not getting enough sleep. Of course the two are closely related. After the infographic and listed highlights (for blind people using a screen reader) are related infographics and articles on both Stress and Sleep. Enjoy, but don’t stress out. Read the rest of this entry »
I met Leanne Vanier a few months ago and found that she had a very interesting perspective of the healing effects of color, light and art. I connected with that concept because of previous articles I wrote on How Light Effects Melatonin and Sleep and How Light from Electronics Effects Sleep. Then I found her lecture on YouTube in three-parts. All three are embedded here with my summary notes.
Leanne describes how our bodies absorb and use different light frequencies and the latest scientific research on medical applications of color and light for treating cancer and other illnesses. In one example, she described using bright sunlight or blue light therapy on newborn babies with jaundice. Another example was about soldiers whose war wounds heal faster in natural open-air sunlight. Read the rest of this entry »
Just 30% of full time workers are engaged at work, while half are uninspired, and another 30% simply “roam the halls” spreading discontent. Some call this presenteeism. Either way, there’s a personal and economic cost.
A Huffington Post article and infographic (below) encourages us to re-think what success means and reassess our priorities, possibly leading to jobs that we really WANT to be doing.
According to Arianna Huffington, “We’ve all bought into this male definition of success, money and power, and it’s not working. It’s not working for men, and it’s not working for women. It’s not working for anyone.”
That’s where their Third Metric infographic comes into play. After the graphic I list some of the key points, as well as related statistics from a similar infographic on sleep. That way, blind people using screen readers can “see” the data too.
YES. According to this article and most of the studies I found, optimism appears to be good for your health and pessimism seems to be bad. But I also found one study that suggested the opposite – that people who are overly optimistic about their future actually faced greater risk of disability or death within 10 years than did those pessimists who expected their future to be worse. So I guess the question about the glass being half full or half empty still depends on your perspective.
Optimism about the Future
This week I was one of several presenters giving short talks to the World Future Society about what makes us optimistic about the future. Rather than rant about health reform, as I often do, I chose instead to talk about BIG Broadband and Google’s choice of Austin for its next gigabit fiber network, Kansas City being their first. I spoke of the applications enabled by Internet access that’s more than 100 times faster than what we currently have, how it enables exciting new applications and innovations in telehealth, telework, distance learning, e-commerce, e-government, and more.
But this article takes a different spin, with text provided by Anne Boysen, one of the other speakers. Her interesting approach fits nicely with the half empty / half full question, because she looks at several trends that bring out the pessimist in us, followed by balancing trends that give us hope.
Read the rest of this entry »
By Arianna Huffington (comment at Huffington Post)
Are you busy right now? Are you already behind on what you wanted to accomplish today? Or this week? Or this year? Are you hoping this will be a short post so you can get back to the million things on your to-do list that are breathing down your neck? Okay, I’ll get on with it: Our culture is obsessed with time. This is our real deficit crisis, and one that, unlike the more commonly discussed deficit, is actually getting worse.
In order to manage time — or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time — we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, always just a little late and trying to save a bit of time here, a little bit there. We download apps for “productivity” and eagerly click on links promising time-saving life-hacks. We fear that if we don’t try to cram as much as possible into our day, we might be missing out on something fun, or important, or special.
Zeo has closed shop. Mentioned here & here and shown in the video below, Zeo is the company that provided a well known direct-to-consumer (DTC) sleep monitoring and coaching system that claimed to take the “science of sleep out of the lab and put it into your hands.” While speculation abounds as to why this happened (see comments in this group discussion: http://bit.ly/ZeoDHDiscuss), it does highlight some of the challenges in this dynamic consumer digital health market segment, which represents 70 million people in the US alone. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be your electronics.
As I wrote in How Light effects Melatonin and Sleep, the hormone melatonin helps regulate our sleep & wake cycles (the circadian clock). Production of this hormone is triggered by darkness and inhibited by light, and that helps explain why we have trouble with jet lag, shift work, and winter months with fewer daylight hours. But it’s not just the availability or intensity of light; it’s also the color temperature, and it’s been that way for thousands of years.
We’re genetically programmed to get sleepy at dark and wake in the light of day, but man’s DNA has not evolved as fast as electricity or electronics. The flickering flame of a campfire, with its warm orange glow, plays a role in getting our bodies ready for sleep, as does the bright morning sunlight that helps us wake up. So it’s not surprising that the cool blue light of a television, PC, or tablet does the same thing.