Comment: Interesting study on the impact of a full moon on sleep. It appears from this research discussed at neurosciencenews.com that in the days leading up to a full moon you are more likely to go to bed later and sleep less.
For centuries, humans have blamed the moon for our moods, accidents and even natural disasters. But new research indicates that our planet’s celestial companion impacts something else entirely — our sleep.
In a paper published Jan. 27 in Science Advances, scientists at the University of Washington, the National University of Quilmes in Argentina and Yale University report that sleep cycles in people oscillate during the 29.5-day lunar cycle: In the days leading up to a full moon, people go to sleep later in the evening and sleep for shorter periods of time.
The research team, led by UW professor of biology Horacio de la Iglesia, observed these variations in both the time of sleep onset and the duration of sleep in urban and rural settings — from Indigenous communities in northern Argentina to college students in Seattle, a city of more than 750,000. They saw the oscillations regardless of an individual’s access to electricity, though the variations are less pronounced in individuals living in urban environments…
Comment: Over the years I have seen clients who experience a wide range of concerns, they are sometimes surprised when I focus on the basics of health – nutrition, exercise, sleep, substance use, stress management. There is a complex relationship between these factors and mental health and it is often a “chicken and the egg” issue of which comes first. The bottom line is that we are one system – mental health is supported by physical health and vice versa. This short article from the conversation highlights the importance of lifestyle medicine.
Remember: For physical health concerns, the first point of call should be your local doctor.
Lifestyle medicine is the clinical application of healthy behaviors to prevent, treat and reverse disease. More than ever, researchunderscoresthatthe “pills” today’s physician should be prescribing for patients are the six domains of lifestyle medicine: whole food plant-based eating, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, addiction reduction or elimination, and positive psychology and social connection.
Comment: I found a short article on myths associated with high blood pressure (Hypertension) – In the USA it is estimated that 45% of adults have hypertension. The bottom line get assessed by a medico and take preventive action to avoid health issues.
This is the list of myths in a newsletter by Medical news Today
Blood pressure is not serious
Hypertension runs in my family, so there is nothing I can do
High blood pressure is inevitable with age
I would notice symptoms if I had hypertension
I do not use table salt, so I do not need to worry about sodium intake
When my blood pressure responds to medication, I can stop taking it
Hypertension is curable
The article highlights the importance of being assessed and taking action – medication and or lifestyle modifications. The next time you see a doctor ask them to check your blood pressure.
Comment: In reading these new WHO guidelines on amount of daily recommended physical activity we should be undertaking, it may be challenging to consider how will I achieve this goal as “I do not have the time”. Often the answer is not easy and involves a restructuring of how we undertake our daily activities. To restructure and maintain the behaviours involves (where possible) moving “health” up our list of priorities
The WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour provide evidence-based public health recommendations for children, adolescents, adults and older adults on the amount of physical activity (frequency, intensity and duration) required to offer significant health benefits and mitigate health risks. For the first time, recommendations are provided on the associations between sedentary behaviour and health outcomes, as well as for subpopulations, such as pregnant and postpartum women, and people living with chronic conditions or disability.
Adults should do at least 150– 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity; or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week, for substantial health benefits.
Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
Comment: This article from The Guardian examines findings from the global burden of disease studypublished in The Lancet in October 2020. Information about preventable diseases has long been known yet global/national preventive programs have in general failed. The reasons for the failure are complex and relate to social inequities, politics, access and beliefs/values. Itis a major area of focus for health psychologists.
Australians are living longer lives but in poorer health, as smoking, obesity and poor diets continue to leave people susceptible to disease and death.
It found that while healthy life expectancy in Australia has increased steadily over 30 years to 70 years in 2019 (a 4.1-year increase from 1990), this had not risen as much as overall life expectancy (82.9 years in 2019; a 5.9-year increase from 1990), indicating that people are living longer in poor health.
Comment: As we get older forgetfulness can generate anxiety about underlying cognitive decline. There has been an on going debate about whether lifestyle changes could impact upon cognitive decline. A recent Australian study adds to the debate and supports the view that lifestyle change is potentially useful in slowing cognitive decline.
Some experts argue that about 50 per cent of dementia is preventable through things like maximising education early in life, keeping your blood pressure down, not smoking, having a good diet, avoiding diabetes and obesity, reasonably intense exercise and maintaining a good social network.Well, a consortium of Australian universities and research centres have just published the results of a randomised trial into a cocktail of non-drug interventions to see if they help people whose thinking and memory are impaired or declining.
Comment: In the time of Covid-19 understanding the factors that govern loneliness has become even more important. A new approach is an attempt to examine whether loneliness can be measured in the brain.
Why do you feel lonely? Neuroscience is starting to find answers.
Long before the world had ever heard of covid-19, Kay Tye set out to answer a question that has taken on new resonance in the age of social distancing: When people feel lonely, do they crave social interactions in the same way a hungry person craves food? And could she and her colleagues detect and measure this “hunger” in the neural circuits of the brain?……Click here for original article in the MIT Technology Review