Do weekend lie-ins reduce weekday sleep debt?

Many people complain they do not get enough sleep, and it seems they are right to be concerned.

Researchers have found that adults under the age of 65 who get five or fewer hours of sleep for seven days a week have a higher risk of death than those who consistently get six or seven hours shut-eye.

However the effect of short sleeps over a few days may be countered by a later lie-in.

The research found that individuals who managed just a few hours’ sleep each day during the week but then had a long snooze at weekends had no raised mortality risk, compared with those who consistently stuck to six or seven hours a night.

Fermented foods for better gut health

Kelly Bilodeau    Executive Editor, Harvard Womens Health Watch

Fermented foods
Naturally fermented foods are getting a lot of attention from health experts these days because they may help strengthen your gut microbiome—the 100 trillion or so bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract.

Researchers are beginning to link these tiny creatures to all sorts of health conditions from obesity to neurodegenerative diseases.

Fermented foods are preserved using an age-old process that not only boosts the food’s shelf life and nutritional value, but can give your body a dose of healthy probiotics, which are live microorganisms crucial to healthy digestion, says Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Not all fermented foods are created equal

The foods that give your body beneficial probiotics are those fermented using natural processes and containing probiotics. Live cultures are found in not only yogurt and a yogurt-like drink called kefir, but also in Korean pickled vegetables called kimchi, sauerkraut, and in some pickles.

The jars of pickles you can buy off the shelf at the supermarket are sometimes pickled using vinegar and not the natural fermentation process using live organisms, which means they don’t contain probiotics.

To ensure the fermented foods you choose do contain probiotics, look for the words naturally fermented on the label, and when you open the jar look for telltale bubbles in the liquid, which signal that live organisms are inside the jar, says Dr. Ludwig.

Fermented foods for better gut health

WHO calls for elimination of trans fats in five years.

WHO calls for trans fats to be eliminated within five years Removing trans fats may prevent 500 000 cardiovascular disease-related deaths, says WHO.

Tom Miles, Reuters / 14 May 2018

WHO unveils plan to remove trans fats. s.

The world could eliminate industrially-produced trans fats by 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, unveiling a plan that it said would prevent 500 000 deaths per year from cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats are popular with manufacturers of fried, baked and snack foods because they have a long shelf life, but they are bad for consumers, increasing heart disease risk by 21% and deaths by 28%, a WHO statement said.

“Why should our children have such an unsafe ingredient in their foods?,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement.

Implementing the WHO’s strategy for replacing trans fats, including promoting healthier alternatives and legislating against the harmful ingredients, would remove them from the food chain and score a major victory against heart disease, he said.

Several rich countries have already virtually eliminated trans fats by putting limits on the amounts allowed in packaged foods. Some have banned partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats, the WHO said.

“Trans-fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there’s no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed,” said Tom Frieden, a former head of the US Centres for Disease Control who now leads the Resolve health initiative.

Earlier this month WHO issued its first draft recommendations on trans fats since 2002, saying adults and children should consume a maximum of one percent of their daily calories in the form of trans fats.

Want better sleep. Leave your work at the office.

It will come as no surprise that taking your work home with you ups your stress levels and impacts sleep quality.

But here’s the catch: work is not just about what you do in the office.

It’s also about other work-related baggage, such as experiencing rudeness, which may prove extra difficult to leave behind.

The Magic Relationship Ratio

After researching thousands of couples for decades, we’ve discovered a number of facts about successful relationships. But one important fact stands out among the rest:

The magic relationship ratio is 5:1.

Five to one of what?

Simply put, successful and lasting relationships must have a ratio of five positive interactions for every single negative interaction, and it is the difference between the “masters” and “disasters” of relationships.

In other words, disasters fall below 5:1, but masters keep their positive to negative ratio of interactions at 5:1 or above, and sometimes even as high as 20:1!

Fortunately, most positive interactions in relationships are small, everyday gestures of kindness, affection, and appreciation. If you’re worried that you’re not hitting 5:1, try creating some positive, daily rituals of connection in your relationship.

To learn more, click here to watch Dr. John Gottman explain the 5:1 ratio.

These 5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life.

NEWS: 5 Habits Can Add 14 Healthy Years to Your Life, According to Science

Science confirms what we know from our research and study of centenarians in “Blue Zones” regions.

The longest-lived people in the world share nine commonalities: they move naturally in their daily lives; eat a plant-slant diet, go to happy hour and drink Wine at 5; they wake up in the morning with purpose; find ways to down shift and shed stress; eat to 80 percent full; belong to faith-based communities; always put family first; and have close friends with similar values – we call these the Power 9.

According to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, five very similar lifestyle habits have been shown to increase life expectancy at age 50 by 12 to 14 years. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the U.S.

Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the following to determine how they affect longevity:

Not smoking
Eating a healthy diet
Regularly exercising
Keeping a healthy body weight
Moderate alcohol consumption

Along with lifestyle and medical data from adults in the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), as well as mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers determined that in the more than 30 years of follow-up, following all five lifestyle habits improved projected life expectancy at age 50 by 14.0 years for women and 12.2 years for men.

“This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population,” said Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”

Give your creative mind a boost.

Doing Something Creative Can Boost Your Well-Being
By Jill Suttie
Dear Mindful Readers,

We often prioritize work over play, toiling away at a desk or whiteboard, waiting for that spark of inspiration on a big project, or how to forge ahead on a problem — but it’s those moments when we’re singing in the shower that everything can come together and that big idea dawns on us. Research suggests that moments of creativity bolster our well-being — learning a dance move or trying a new pottery class might be fun ways to fill our calendars, but it also generates energy and enthusiasm that we can bring into the rest of our week.

Here are three simple ways to practice mindfulness while engaging your creative side.

1) Sing like no one can hear you. If you’re the kind of person who cranks the tunes on the drive to work, you could be onto something. Singing is a gesture of self-compassion, and it can prime the brain for meditation. Here are four reasons to try mindful singing, and reap the full benefits of your next karaoke night.

2) Embrace your inner Shakespeare. We’re all writers — our fingers constantly tapping out texts and sending emails. We can redirect some of that energy into a freestyle mindfulness practice: try this five-step writing practice to acknowledge your emotions with each sentence you pen.

3) Be your own muse. Waiting for inspiration to strike before embarking on a special project? There are many paths to creative epiphanies. Explore these five rituals from successful artists like Stephen King and Maya Angelou to spark your imagination and find a routine that works for you.

Here’s hoping you all find moments to enjoy being mindful this week.

The Mindful Editors