Guest Nicole -
Guest Nicole -
By Guest nicole
We know that a good night's sleep is important for our health for all kinds of reasons, but there's a new benefit to add to the list: avoiding dehydration.
A new study suggests that anything under six hours of slumber a night could leave our bodies less than adequately hydrated.
Researchers found that people who slept six hours a night had significantly more concentrated urine and a 16-59 percent higher chance of being dehydrated, compared with adults who were getting a regular eight hours of shut-eye.
And according to the team behind the study, feeling less than 100 percent when you wake up after insufficient sleep might be down to dehydration too, not just the lack of shuteye – so an early morning glass of water could make a big difference.
The researchers think their findings could be traced back to the way the body's hormonal system regulates hydration; they focussed on a hormone called vasopressin, which the body releases during the day and the night to manage fluid levels.
"Vasopressin is released both more quickly and later on in the sleep cycle," says one of the team, Asher Rosinger from Pennsylvania State University.
"So, if you're waking up earlier, you might miss that window in which more of the hormone is released, causing a disruption in the body's hydration."
So, vasopressin does a crucial job of making sure our bodies don't lose too much water while we're sleeping – in fact, it can actually pull water back into the body from our urine.
If we're not staying asleep long enough for the right amount of vasopressin to be released, that can have a knock-on effect.
The study analysed records of more than 25,000 adults in China and the US, who were asked about their sleeping habits and had urine samples taken to look for biomarkers linked to hydration.
Vasopressin in particular wasn't measured, but indicators of it (like the levels of water in pee) were.
It's worth noting that the study isn't enough to prove a causal link – that less sleep causes dehydration – but it does suggest some kind of biological relationship between the two.
If You're Sleeping 6 or Fewer Hours a Night, There's a Weird Health Effect We Didn't Expect
Forums, like email, is one of those "killer applications" that made the Internet so powerful. Social media came along and it appeared that forums would be pushed aside as "old technology" like IRC chat etc...
Using the more modern forums though, such as this one, is a different experience than the forums 1.0 of the past.
Videos can now easily be embedded with just a click (just like Facebook and Twitter) and there are even more options for editing text than possible on FB currently.
Images are very easily shareable now on forums compared to previous years.
I will posit that social media made forum 1.0 technology to innovate and keep up.
Going forward people may soon remember how refreshing categories and topics can be versus the firehose of information people typically get on a FB newsfeed which their algorithims select what you see. (think big brother 2.0)
There is also the possibility of allowing people to talk about things they don't want thier real names attached to. The USA was started in part due to "anonymous free speech". At times it is necessary. Granted, Twitter offers this already but forums had this 25 years ago and still do.
Forums like this one are also innovating with ideas on how to learn more from social media's success with such things as status updates etc...
Will we someday see the resurgence of massive forums where information is exchanged without a nauseating newsfeed?
By Jack Ryan
Ok folks. Just so you know. You'll see less JW's on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc... and maybe even forums like these due to the new edict from the Governing Body directing all JW's to stay off of the Internet again.
I say again because they only recently lifted their Internet ban when they launched jw.org....
Well folks... it's back on!
Which websites other than jw.org do you think JW's will still use? I suspect Netflix will still be used.
By Guest Nicole
Everyone likes a cheeky lie-in now and again on a weekend, but it comes with the annoying side-effect of guilt. Shouldn’t you be out doing more with your weekend?
Well, we’ve got good news. In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, Swedish researchers found that having a lie-in could actually lower your mortality rate, if you’d been missing out on sleep during the week.
Previous research has found that adults under the age of 65 who sleep less than five hours each night of the week had a higher risk of death. But this study suggested that catching up on sleep over the weekend could alleviate that risk.
"The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep," the researchers, led by Torbjörn Åkerstedt from Stockholm University, wrote in their paper.
By Guest Nicole
A new study of dysfunctional use of smart technology finds that the most addictive smartphone functions all share a common theme: they tap into the human desire to connect with other people. The findings, published in Frontiers in Psychology, suggest that smartphone addiction could be hyper-social, not anti-social.
"There is a lot of panic surrounding this topic," says Professor Samuel Veissière, from the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, Canada. "We're trying to offer some good news and show that it is our desire for human interaction that is addictive -- and there are fairly simple solutions to deal with this."
We all know people who, seemingly incapable of living without the bright screen of their phone for more than a few minutes, are constantly texting and checking out what friends are up to on social media.
By Guest Nicole
An 18-month study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that 21 adults aged 50-90 taking a twice-daily 90-mg curcumin supplement saw their memory function improve by an average of 28% over that period, according to Forbes. Depression scores also improved, while those of a control group stayed the same. The study was published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and was the first long-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a bioavailable form of curcumin in non-demented adults. The researchers concluded that taking a bioavailable curcumin supplement daily may lead to improved memory and attention in non-demented adults. The specifics of how curcumin works are not yet known, "but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and major depression," Gary Small, M.D., who led the research team, said in a statement. Read more: https://www.fooddive.com/news/study-turmerics-active-ingredient-could-boost-memory-and-mood/515528/
By Guest Nicole
The number of American teens with depressed thoughts has been increasing since 2012. Looking at the data, it's possible to rule out some factors that might be causing it, like economic inequality and academic pressure. Jean Twenge, author of "iGen," believes all signs point to increased smartphone use as the likely cause. Twenge says it's not necessarily the screen time but the time that's lost to smartphones that could be spent on more meaningful activities, like face-to-face interaction. Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.
In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.
In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country.
All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call "iGen" – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.
What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide?
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-number-of-teens-who-are-depressed-is-soaring-2017-11
By Guest Nicole
The scientific consensus is clear: we need more sleep. Our bodies and brains rely on getting sufficient shuteye, and cutting ourselves short deals a compounding blow to our health. A new study adds to the argument by showing that sleeping too little correlates with a bigger waistline and higher body mass index (BMI), among other negatives.
The study of 1,615 adults found that people who slept an average of six hours a night had a waist circumference three centimeters larger than those who slept nine hours a night (that’s about 1.18 inches). The short sleepers also had a higher BMI on average and lower HDL cholesterol (the so-called “good cholesterol” number that ideally should be higher).
Participants had blood samples taken and their waist circumference, weight and blood pressure recorded. Sleep times fell into three categories: average of about six hours, average of about 7.5 hours and average of about nine hours. Across the board, the six-hour group had worse outcomes than the other two groups.
Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2017/07/30/shorting-yourself-on-sleep-could-be-adding-to-your-waistline/#3f91a3fde067
By Guest Nicole
July 17, 2017
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
More than a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, and growing evidence suggests it’s not only taking a toll on their physical health through heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and/or other conditions, but hurting their mental health as well.
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170717120048.htm
Social networking is completely out of control these days. But do the things we do online make sense in real life? Follow me as as I test social media activity on unsuspecting New Yorkers! I partnered with Relationship Science and their new app MINE by RelSc
I would take the lessons learned from social media about smooth and fast functionality.
Users don't want to have to title a photo.... maybe they just want to post it?
Comments need not be in some big box...with a huge profile photo next to each comment..... A link on their username is sufficient to lead to their profile page.
I would also make them "real-time" / "threaded" and "super-fast" (basically showing when someone else is typing.... thereby keeping people online to wait for someone replying.
Some would reply that forum comments are "for the ages" and are somehow written "in stone" compared to social media..... (Baloney!!)
I can go back to posts on FB from 10 years ago and read comments the same way we do on forums.
OH... and these new comment systems can be made SEO friendly. (Check out rt.com commenting system for example)
Video and audio chat are just add ons... for those companies trying to become infrastructure contenders.
One key component why forums aren't advancing against social media are the investment in apps by forums in general.
So basically... once all the above is done... AND THEN also offered in an APP... then I think forums would start to dominate again over time.
I should also add a comment about video as well.
Modern users of social media want to upload video directly to their "site" and have it play...
They don't want to worry about format.
They don't want it to be just a link for others to potentially play.
Facebook is now a VIDEO first company. Guess where the masses of people are spending their time as well? Seen YouTube.com lately?
Forums could/should try to take on this area as well. We have the advantage of better organization.
Google would not be able to relegate forum traffic to "internet drivel" as they like to currently. They would be forced to link to where the video is hosted. And in this case it would be on our forums and not on their YouTube.com
By Guest Nicole
People sleep in a park during hot weather in Dhaka, Bangladesh. CreditAbir Abdullah/European Pressphoto Agency
Global warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases is having clear effects in the physical world: more heat waves, heavier rainstorms and higher sea levels, to cite a few.
In recent years, though, social scientists have been wrestling with a murkier question: What will climate change mean for human welfare?
Forecasts in this realm are tricky, necessarily based on a long chain of assumptions. Scientific papers have predicted effects as varied as a greater spread of tropical diseases, fewer deaths from cold weather and more from hot weather, and even bumpier rides on airplanes.
Now comes another entry in this literature: a prediction that in a hotter world, people will get less sleep.
By Guest Nicole
Dopaminergic neurons are located in the midbrain structures substantia nigra (SNc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Their axons project to the striatum (caudate nucleus, putamen and ventral striatum including nucleus accumbens), the dorsal and ventral prefrontal cortex. (Credit: Oscar Arias-Carrión et al.)
People who frequently check Facebook on their smartphone tend to have less gray matter in a reward-related area of the brain, according to new research.
“Smartphones, Facebook – in short the digital world – is a major part of our lives,” the study’s corresponding author, Christian Montag of Ulm University, told PsyPost. “A better neuroscientific understanding of digital usage is of importance to also understand how our brains react and are shaped by digital societies.”
The study was published online April 22 in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioural Brain Research.
The researchers recruited 46 men and 39 women, and used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to examine the structure of their brain. Then, the researchers installed an app on the participants’ phones to record how long they spent on Facebook and how often they checked Facebook every day for five weeks.
Montag and his colleagues were particularly interested in the nucleus accumbens, a small structure located deep in the center of the brain. The nucleus accumbens is a core region of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system, which plays an important role in addiction.
The researchers found that participants who opened the Facebook app more frequently and those who stayed on Facebook longer tended to have reduced gray matter volume in the nucleus accumbens.
“We were able to demonstrate that the nucleus accumbens, a central region of the SEEKING system — others call it the reward system — plays an important role in understanding Facebook usage on smartphones,” Montag said. “In short, the lower the gray matter volume in this area, the higher Facebook usage/frequency could be observed.”
“Indeed, frequency of Facebook checking can be compared to an energetic SEEKING activity,” the researchers wrote in the study, “whereas the users of the smartphones are checking their Facebook account in expectation of ‘Likes’, nice comments, etc.”
Does less gray matter in the nucleus accumbens lead to more Facebook use or does using Facebook lead to less gray matter? Because the study was cross-sectional, the researchers could not determine cause and effect.
“We do not know from the present data if low volumes in this area are a cause or consequence of Facebook usage. Therefore longitudinal studies are needed,” Montag explained to PsyPost.
“The present study investigated health young participants with ‘normal’ smartphone usage. Future research will show if excessive usage (which we did not investigate) could represent a behavioral addiction.”
The study, “Facebook usage on smartphones and gray matter volume of the nucleus accumbens“, was also co-authored by Alexander Markowetz, Konrad Blaszkiewicz, Ionut Andone, Bernd Lachmann, Rayna Sariyska, Boris Trendafilov, Mark Eibes, Julia Kolb, Martin Reuter Bernd Weber and Sebastian Markett.
By Guest Nicole
Some nights, it’s like you can’t get your brain to shut up long enough for you to fall asleep. You’re mentally reviewing the day you just completed while also previewing the day ahead; sometimes, your mind may even reach way back into the archives and pull up something embarrassing you did back in high school. So fun!
Racing thoughts can be a sign of a serious mental health condition like anxiety. But these nights also happen to everyone from time to time — and once we’re too old for bedtime stories, it’s not always clear what to do. There’s no one solution that will work for everybody, of course, so instead, we’ve rounded up suggestions from eight sleep experts. At the very least, it’s something to read next time you can’t sleep.
Distract yourself with meaningless mental lists.
“The absolute prerequisite for sleep is a quiet mind. Think of something else, rather than what’s worrying you — something with a story to it. It can be anything of interest, but of no importance, so you can devote some brain energy to it without clashing into the real world and going straight back to your worries. I fly a lot, so I imagine I have my own private jet and how would I arrange the furniture on it. If you’re someone who likes going to music festivals, what would your lineup be?” — Neil Stanley, sleep expert
Try to stay awake instead.
“Thinking about sleep and wishing for it to happen is a recipe for staying awake. This is where paradoxical thinking comes in. If you give yourself the paradoxical instruction to stay awake instead, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep. If you can be comfortable with the idea of remaining awake, then the performance anxiety and frustration that are associated with trying to sleep have nowhere to go and your arousal level drops.” — Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford
Or just get out of bed.
“If 20 minutes has gone by as the mind races and is unable to relax back to sleep, it’s best to get out of bed. Without looking at your phone or any other screen devices, go to another dimly lit room where you keep a notebook. Write down the thoughts that are keeping you awake. Finish with the words, ‘It can wait until tomorrow.’ Then, go back to bed, focus on the breath, and mindfully relax into those words, giving yourself permission to yield to sleep.”— Jenni June, sleep consultant
Write down whatever’s freaking you out.
“Spend a maximum of 20 minutes just getting everything out of your head and onto paper every day. It’s a therapeutic way to see that you probably don’t have loads to worry about, rather just a few reoccurring things. You can then see which worries are hypothetical (i.e., what if I make a mistake at work and lose my job) or ‘real’ worries (e.g., I made a mistake and have lost my job). For the real worries you can then make an action plan/problem-solve and for the hypothetical ones, learn to let them go.” — Kathryn Pinkham, National Health Services insomnia specialist
Get back in bed and do some deep breathing.
“Deep breathing … acts as a powerful distraction technique, particularly if paired with counting. You want to aim to breathe out for longer than you breathe in, and pause after breathing in and out; so you might choose to count for three when you breathe in, then pause and count to five when you breathe out, then pause. Really focus on your breathing and counting, and if your mind wanders off, just take note of that and return your attention to the exercise. You may need to do this for ten minutes or so.” — Christabel Majendie, sleep therapist
Try not to try so hard.
“Try not to struggle or ‘try harder’ to overcome the sleeplessness or get rid of unwanted thoughts, as this can worsen insomnia. One successful approach to overcome this negative cycle is to instead learn to observe and accept these struggles, using mindfulness strategies to help.” — Jenny Stephenson, director of HappySleepers
Or maybe plan how you’ll get some sun in the a.m.
“Getting more sun exposure in the midmorning can help readjust the brain’s internal clock and make it easier to fall asleep later that night. In my book, I write about how sun exposure is now a key part of many professional athletes’ travel schedules, and seen as a way of preventing jet lag. Non-athletes can do similar things. Someone who can’t seem to fall asleep at night may want to try getting as much exposure to natural light in the morning, essentially prepping themselves to fall asleep when they want to.” — David K. Randall, author of Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep
And if all else fails …
“The great era of tinkering with sleep aids was popular in early modern Europe. Here are a few of my favorites:
• Put some blood-sucking leeches behind your ears. When they bore holes in the skin, pull them out and place a grain of opium in each hole. (From 16th-century French physician André du Laurens.)
• Kill a sheep, and then press its steaming lungs on either side of the head. Keep the lungs in place as long as they remain warm. (From 16th-century French surgeon Ambroise Paré.)
• After the evening meal, eat lettuce, drink wine, and rub an ointment made of the oil of violets or camphor on the temples. Dissolve a mixture of poppy seeds, lettuce seeds, balsam, saffron, and sugar and cook it in poppy juice. Then listen to pleasant music and lie down on a bed covered with the leaves of fresh, cool plants. (From 15th-century philosopher Marsilio Ficino.)” — Benjamin Reiss, author of Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World
By Guest Nicole
Young people who spend a lot of time on social media — websites designed to bring people together — seem to be more isolated, new research suggests.
Ironically, the researchers found that the heaviest users of social media had about twice the odds of feeling socially isolated compared to their less “web-connected” friends.
The findings “remind us that social media is not a panacea for people who feel socially isolated,” said study lead author Dr. Brian Primack. He’s director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health.
Primack said past research has suggested that people who use social media the most are especially isolated. But those studies have been small, he noted.
The new study is the first analysis of social media use and so-called social isolation in a large group of people from across the United States, according to Primack.
But, at least one social media expert said the study leaves too many questions unanswered to offer people any practical advice.
The study included nearly 1,800 people aged 19 to 32. The participants completed a 20-minute online questionnaire in 2014. Half were female and 58 percent were white. More than one-third made at least $75,000 a year. The participants, who’d taken part in research before, received $15 each for the survey.
Researchers asked questions about how isolated the participants felt and how often they used Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat and Reddit.
Those who used the services more often — either in terms of the number of times they used them or in total amount of time spent on them — were more likely to report feeling isolated from other people, the investigators found.
“Compared with those in the lowest quarter for frequently checking social media, people in the top quarter were about three times as likely to have increased social isolation,” Primack said. Those who checked the least visited social media sites less than nine times a week. Those who checked the most visited social media sites 58 or more times a week, the study authors said.
The average time spent on social media was 61 minutes a day. People who spent more than 121 minutes a day on social media had about twice the odds of feeling isolated than those spending less than 30 minutes a day on these sites, the findings showed.
The authors noted that the study had limitations. One is that it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. And, it’s not clear which came first — the social media use or the feelings of isolation, according to the researchers.
In addition, the study only looked at people aged 32 and under, so the findings may not be the same in older people.
Primack also pointed out that the study examined people’s use of social media as a whole, not specific sites. There’s no way to know if people who read glowing posts about their friends’ perfect vacations on Facebook are more or less isolated than those who prefer to watch YouTube videos of cats or bitterly argue about politics on Twitter.
If there’s a link between social media use and isolation, what may be going on? “It may be that people who feel more socially isolated use a lot of social media to try to increase their social circles,” Primack suggested.
“But both directions may be at work. People who feel socially isolated may reach out on social media to ‘self-medicate,’ but this may only serve to increase perceptions of social isolation,” he added.
The findings suggest that people who feel isolated may generally be unable to find a connection through social media, Primack said.
The answer may be going offline, he said.
“A much more valuable and robust way to deal with perceived social isolation would probably be to nurture true in-person social relationships,” Primack said. “Of course, social media remains a potentially powerful tool to help leverage those relationships. However, it is probably not such a strong replacement in and of itself.”
Anatoliy Gruzd is an associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto who studies social media. Gruzd said the study is too limited and “cannot be reliably used to generate practical advice about isolation and social media use. There are still many unanswered questions and untested variables.”
For example, “being active on Facebook may indicate one type of behavior, while being active on something like Snapchat might indicate a very different type of behavior,” he said.
“The study also does not account for the level and type of participation in social media. For example, one can spend hours on Facebook just to browse pictures posted by others, while another person may be using the same amount of time to actively post and connect with others on Twitter,” Gruzd noted.
The study was published in the March 6 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
By Guest Nicole
Being mistreated at work can make people take out their frustrations on loved ones at home. But a new study suggests that getting more exercise and sleep may help people better cope with those negative emotions by leaving them at work, where they belong.
People who burned more calories on a daily basis—by doing the equivalent of a long walk or swim—were less likely to take out their anger about work issues on people they lived with, the researchers found in the new study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
The researchers used activity trackers to record sleep patterns and physical activity of 118 graduate students with full-time jobs. Each participant, and one person he or she lived with, also completed surveys about sleep, exercise and feelings of mistreatment at home or work.
Previous research shows that employees who are belittled or insulted by colleagues are likely to vent their frustrations and behave angrily toward people outside of work, says study co-author Shannon Taylor, a management professor at the University of Central Florida's College of Business.
The new study backs up this idea, but offers a bit of good news, as well: Employees who averaged more than 10,500 steps a day or burned at least 2,100 calories were less likely to mistreat their cohabitants than those who averaged fewer steps or burned fewer calories.
The researchers even calculated the exact energy expenditure needed to protect against work-to-home emotional spillover. Burning an additional 587 calories, the equivalent of a 90-minute brisk walk or an hour-long swim for a 195-pound male, can “substantially reduce the harmful effects of workplace undermining,” they wrote.
The findings also revealed that when employees felt they had a bad night’s sleep because of work issues, they were more likely to be grouchy at home. “When you’re tired, you’re either less able or less motivated to regulate yourself,” says co-author Larissa Barber, professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University.
Physical activity seems to counterbalance poor sleep, Barber says, because it promotes healthy brain functions needed to properly regulate emotions and behavior. “This study suggests that high amounts of exercise can be at least one way to compensate for sleep troubles that lead to negative behaviors at home,” she says.
Barber acknowledges that finding time to work out and get a full night’s sleep can be difficult when work pressures are mounting—and that often, job stress can directly relate to sleep quality. (Her previous research suggests that not only can a bad day at the office keep us up at night, but that poor sleep can also affect how we interpret events at work.)
But, she says, making the effort to burn some extra calories—and blow off some steam—can be worth it. It’s not only good for you, says Taylor, but it can benefit the people you live with as well.
“I would advise people to think of sleep and exercise from an investment perspective rather than another task on the to-do list,” Barber says. “It may seem like more work upfront, but the boost in motivation and energy can help you avoid sinking deeper into workplace stress and productivity problems.”
By Guest Nicole
Start Your Day With an Omega-Rich Breakfast
Want to sleep well? Start your day with omega-3s! These healthy fats lower anxiety and help your body produce the hormones you need to sleep at night. Get your daily dose by adding a couple tablespoons of chia seeds, flaxseeds orwalnuts to your breakfast. Aim for 600 mg or about four tablespoons of flaxseeds a day.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Coffee is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, but drinking it in the afternoon can wreak havoc on your sleep. While a little caffeine is good for you, it can linger in your system for hours and keep you up long after your last cup. Protect your sleep by avoiding caffeinated drinks after 2 p.m.
Set a Kitchen Curfew
While heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime may make you feel drowsy, they actually undermine your sleep by stimulating you late at night. Instead of snoozing soundly, you'll wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep. Avoid this by setting a kitchen curfew! Close the kitchen at 7 p.m. and stop snacking.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool
Research shows that insomniacs have a warmer core body temperature than normal sleepers. You can’t maintain your sleep if you’re too hot, so cool down by keeping your bedroom between 65 and 67 degrees.
Replace Pills with Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Skip sleeping pills! While they may seem like a smart idea at the time, they can cause dependency, prolonged drowsiness and overeating. Instead, opt for an all-natural sleep-better solution: progressive muscle relaxation. Systematically tensing and relaxing your muscles signals to your brain it's time to go to sleep and helps distract you from anxieties that may be keeping you up. For beginners, try listening to this guided muscle relaxation from sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus.
By Guest Nicole
Frequent social media use is correlated with a higher risk of eating disorders and negative body image, according to a new study based on a survey of young adults conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. As always, it’s worth noting that correlation doesn’t equal causation, and a number of different explanations are possible – but the findings are certainly food for thought for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals who work with teens and young adults around these issues.T
The study, titled “The Association between Social Media Use and Eating Concerns among US Young Adults” and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,” surveyed 1,765 adults ages 19-32 with questionnaires about their use of social platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn.
The authors then cross-referenced these results with data gathered by another questionnaire used to determine the risk of eating disorders in individuals, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder as well as distorted body image and other types of eating disorder.
Respondents who spent more time on social media were over twice as likely (2.2 times) to report factors putting them at risk of eating disorders or distorted body image, when compared with respondents who spent less time. Meanwhile, frequency of check-ins were even more closely correlated with these risk factors, with respondents who checked in most often 2.6 times as those who checked in least often to have risk factors.
The correlation was seen across categories including gender, age, race, and income, suggesting that it is a broad-based phenomenon. However, as noted above it’s unclear whether social media usage is causing eating disorders, or if (for example) people with eating disorders gravitate to social media for emotional support. People with eating disorders may also use social media for a different kind of emotional support, seeking out groups that encourage eating disorders, like the notorious “pro-ana” sites and “thinspo” forums – another scenario where social media works to enable a pre-existing condition.
Nonetheless, one obvious interpretation is that heavy usage of social media, with its increasingly visual content and emphasis on idealized images, is in fact causing or exacerbating eating disorders.
On that note lead author Jaime E. Sidani stated: “We’ve long known that exposure to traditional forms of media, such as fashion magazines and television, is associated with the development of disordered eating and body image concerns, likely due to the positive portrayal of ‘thin’ models and celebrities. Social media combines many of the visual aspects of traditional media with the opportunity for social media users to interact and propagate stereotypes that can lead to eating and body image concerns.”
By Guest Nicole
MONDAY, April 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- In news that's sure to have mothers everywhere saying, "I told you so," scientists have confirmed that a good night's sleep may keep colds and other infections at bay.
The odds that someone who sleeps five or fewer hours a night had caught a cold in the past month were 28 percent higher than for folks who regularly get more shuteye, the study found.
And for other infections -- including flu, ear infections and pneumonia -- short sleepers had more than 80 percent higher odds of having an infection in the past month compared to those sleeping seven or eight hours, the study said.
"People who sleep five or fewer hours on average are at substantially increased risk for both colds whether head or chest or other infections, compared to people who sleep seven to eight hours on average," said study researcher Aric Prather. He's an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The researchers also found that people who have sleep disorders or those who have ever told their physician that they have sleep troubles had about 30 percent higher odds of having had a cold in the previous month. The odds of infection in the past month for people with sleep disorders were more than doubled, the study said.
Experts cannot say for sure why lack of sleep helps increase susceptibility to infections. However, Prather said, it is known that T-cells, a type of white blood cells that fight off infection, don't work as well when you are sleep-deprived.
The new study builds on Prather's previous work. In a past study, he exposed people to a cold virus and found there was a link between sleep duration and the risk of catching a cold.
In the current study, he wanted to see if real-world data would back up those findings. However, Prather noted that this study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Prather used data from the large U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys (NHANES) from 2005 to 2012. He examined records of nearly 23,000 men and women, average age 46. The study volunteers reported sleep duration, if they had sleep problems or disorders, and whether they had a cold or other infection such as the flu, pneumonia or ear infection in the previous month.
The findings were published as a letter April 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The new research echoes some findings of previous studies, said Sheldon Cohen, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. Cohen has previously studied sleep habits and susceptibility to colds. "We found that seven hours is about the breaking point," he said. "People who got less than seven hours were at greater risk, basically."
When many studies are examined, "the consistency across studies really does suggest that sleep is playing a role [in susceptibility to colds]," Cohen said. "Whether it is because sleep maintains a strong immune system, we can't say for sure at this point."
Other factors, such as lack of exercise, could help explain it, he said. Even so, "the data suggest that sleep may be altering the immune function in some way," with sufficient sleep helping it.
People can become better sleepers, Prather said. Getting up at the same time every day is a start, he said. "Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark," he advised. "Have a wind-down period [before going to sleep]."
To learn more about good sleep habits, visit the National Sleep Foundation.
SOURCES: Aric Prather, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; April 11, 2016, JAMA Internal Medicine, online
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2016
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