October 14, 2020
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
“Consistent, restful sleep is one of the most effective ways to manage good health, reduce stress and boost memory and productivity,” says Sara Mednick, Ph.D., associate professor of cognitive science at the University of California. I came across this comment in a fascinating article written by Leslie Goldman that appeared in Better Homes & Gardens of March 2020.
Take this quick quiz to find out – then read on for science-backed tips and tools to make the most of those precious hours of shut-eye.
A Mainly after dinner
B Throughout the day and I often crave sugary stuff
C When I do snack, it’s usually something healthy between meals
If you answered A or B, poor sleep may be throwing your hunger hormones out of whack
When you don’t get good sleep, levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone “ghrelin” rise and levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone “leptin” fall. One study found that getting only five hours of sleep a night over the course of one week, led to a two-pound gain.
“When you’re sleep-deprived, your body acts like it’s in a mild state of stress,” Mednick says. “It spurs you to reach for foods with sugar that provide quick energy.” (I think we’ve all been there – done this one.)
A Sharp as ever
B I feel fuzzy-minded a lot of the time
C I often struggle to recall words and forget where I put my keys
If you answered B or C, your memory is begging for better sleep
“Sleep deprivation has a strong affect on the brain, especially the ‘prefrontal cortex’ the area that’s responsible for language, word selection and memory,” Mednick says. “It’s not uncommon for people to notice words slipping their mind on six hours of sleep.”
D None of the above
If you answered A, B or C, poor sleep may be worsening your mood
The regions of the brain tied to mood – the “amygdala” and “prefrontal cortex” are adversely impacted by poor sleep. The “prefrontal cortex” is like the CEO of the brain – it controls the “amygdala” according to Mednick.
She goes on to explain that with less-than-ideal rest the CEO can’t control the “amygdala” – so it will lean more towards negative thoughts and the result is a moodier individual.
ONE: Choose a few wind-down activities such as listening to soft music and have a cup of chamomile tea (made from the chamomile flower – it may lower the risk of heart disease or cancer). The key to an effective wind-down routine is doing the same things each night. This tells your body that it’s time to get tired and go to sleep.
TWO: For those with traditional schedules, that’s between 9:30 and 10:30 with 11:00 at the latest. This is when much of the slow-wave stage of sleep happens, when your mind and body restore themselves according to Mednick. If you fall asleep at midnight, you’ll miss out on a lot of that stage even if you sleep eight hours.
Art is courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
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October 22, 2020
I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
October 06, 2020
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.
September 30, 2020
For some time now I have been reading items in the media about Marie Kondo, the “tidying consultant” and I must admit, I’m completely baffled by the whole subject. She has been in the public eye since 2011, when her book The Life-Changing, Pulsing Magic of Tidying Up in Japan.