Exercise and healthy food count but there's an unexpected twist
Scientists are increasingly discovering that the changes in the circadian rhythm as we age are associated with reduced longevity.
Normal, healthy aging is associated with a weakening of the circadian system. The first indication of damping of circadian rhythms with advancing age came from studies by Franz Halberg in the 1950s, on mice. We now know that circadian rhythm plays a vital role in health, and prolonged clock disruptions are associated with chronic diseases.
Knowing how to boost strengthen the circadian rhythm may yet turn out to be as important as strengthening our muscles, for longer life.
The risk of obesity increases by 9% for each 1-hour decrease in sleep duration
Good quality sleep often alludes us, and poor sleep leads to various health problems (WebMD) such as heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
Here's what you need to know to optimise your sleep duration and to minimise the risk of sleep-related obesity.
Over nearly two decades, sleep has been increasingly recognised as a potential risk for obesity. For example, many observational studies have shown links between short sleep duration and weight gain.
However, a recent study which sought to validate such prior studies found the evidence to be inconclusive. Despite the findings of the recent survey, there are plausible associations between good health and too little or too much sleep which are essential to know.
Nutritional timing and choice for a good night's sleep
In this time of the pandemic increased stress levels are interfering with the quality of our sleep. Poor sleep often leads to a poor day, and we enter a cycle of stress which is hard to break.
A good diet can go a long way to restoring better sleep and breaking the COVID stress cycle.
Improving your sleep improves your life, try these
In order to continually perform at their best, elite soccer players use strategies to improve their sleep hygiene. We can apply some of these strategies to our own recovery from exercise, and generally to improve the quality of our sleep.
Our sleep quality generally declines as we age. We don’t have the late-night matches, the travelling, nor the intensity of the training of pro players. However chronic insomnia affects 57% of the elderly in the United States, with impairment of quality of life, function, and health.
In fact, some medical researchers call insomnia "a neglected epidemic". It is one of the most common complaints in patients with mental health problems. Furthermore, a recent (2018) study found that older people who took more than 30 minutes to fully fall asleep had lower bone mineral density than those who fell asleep faster.
Improving our sleep quality not only makes our life more healthy and more enjoyable but very likely will mean that we live longer.
I'm doing these daily
We're about the enter our 3rd week of Stage 4 lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus, and the level of anxiety is noticeably higher than in the first wave.
It is perfectly natural that we should feel more anxious, but often this kind of cold logic doesn't help reset our thinking. On the other hand, following these three recommendations will help you reset your thinking and reduce your stress.
Managing fatigue, rest, recovery and technique to avoid injuries
On my local running trails, people know me as the old guy that runs daily. Some shake their head in disbelief as this 72-year old makes a good pace along the track, and some shake their head in disbelief that I should be so foolish. (MostlyI get cheery smiles and nods.)
What I notice is how many other runners fall by the wayside, with injuries. Running every day is fine if you can do it without injuring yourself. Here's how I manage fatigue, rest, recovery, awareness, breathing and natural time to avoid injuries.
Rollers and compression garments are low on the list
We've all experienced it - that pain that starts to swell from within about 12 hours after a tough, or unusual, exercise session. From there, it can get worse, making it painful to walk up steps after about 2 days. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that it will disappear. The bad news? There's little that can we can do to make it disappear a lot faster.
We'll take a look at the best four things that scientists regard as proven to reduce the pain. It's a short list (based on recent research).
Why was I sleeping better? What I found surprised me
As we get older, our production of melatonin significantly decreases. This decrease does not just affect sleep quality, as melatonin is a hormone with a range of other vital functions.
It's possible this decline in melatonin production could be offset by dietary melatonin, i.e. eating foods with a high melatonin content. Recently I noticed that I was sleeping better, and what I found when I investigated it surprised me.
And it will help you make better food choices and lose weight
An ancient treatment may hold the answer to relieving your stress during the pandemic and improve your health afterwards - for the long-term.
Withania somnifera (WS), commonly known as Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng, possesses diverse biological functions. These include reducing anxiety, and reducing weight. That's a beautiful combination.
Just choose 1 or 2 to start thriving again
With our routines having been thrown into chaos, many of us are losing our grasp on our best selves. The cumulative stress of the unknown is slowly pumping up our cortisone level, and we are burning out
Our resilience is drooping. It's time to take a step back, to regroup, and to rebuild our resilience, starting with one of two new habits - and committing to their practice.
Having a good store of resilience helps us cope with life, as it happens - not as we wish it would happen. With enough resilience, instead of feeling as if you are drowning, you will start to enjoy the swim - even if the water is choppy.
Here are four habits which will help you get back in touch with your best self. Just choose 1 or 2 that you are not currently practising - keep things simple.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter