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10 Ways To Be Happier at Work

Take control, fight little hassles, get fair pay, receive feedback and more…

Lists of how to be happy at work often implicitly blame workers themselves.

If you’re not happy, they imply, it’s because you’re not prioritising properly or you need to smile more, or some other trite rubbish.

Don’t accept this: organisations are mostly to blame for unhappy employees.

Psychological research has shown what makes people unhappy at work, and it’s not lack of smiling.

Here are ten factors truly associated with being happy at work.

1. Get control

Psychologists have consistently found that people who work in jobs where they have little control find their work very stressful and consequently unsatisfying.

The more control people perceive in how they carry out their job, the more satisfaction they experience.

Look for ways of taking control of your job.

Even exerting relatively small amounts of control can make you feel happier with your work

2. Fight little hassles

Coffee machine doesn’t work? That same information needs to be put into two forms?

People’s job satisfaction is surprisingly sensitive to daily hassles.

Those little hassles all add up.

People don’t mind working hard when the task is difficult, but when it seems like a pointless inconvenience, they get unhappy. Quickly.

Talk to your manager about getting rid of these little hassles.

Also, build a consensus with your colleagues that the little hassles are worth addressing.

3. Fair pay

The bigger the difference between what you think you should earn and what you do earn, the less happy you’ll be.

The question is, who do you compare yourself to: the other people in the office or other people with your job?

Both comparisons will likely affect how happy you are with your job.

It’s perceptions that are very important here, along with the absolute levels of pay.

You may be able to live with small differences, but big disparities tend to eat away at you.

If this is the case, it could be time to move on.

4. Address family problems

Having a child may be wonderful, but it’s also very stressful.

According to a study of almost 10,000 people in the UK, those who had children became significantly less satisfied with their jobs afterwards (Georgellis et al., 2012).

Professor Georgellis explained:

    “People are less happy at work for up to five years after their first baby is born, though the effect seems to be stronger for women, especially those in the public sector.”

It’s a reminder that outside events affect how happy people are with their jobs, not just aspects of their jobs.

Are you sure it’s really your job that is getting you down? Perhaps there is a situation at home that needs dealing with.

5. Feeling of achievement

To feel happy in their jobs, people have to feel they are making some progress.

In some jobs achievement is obvious, but in others it’s not.

As smaller cogs in larger machines, it may be difficult to tell what we’re contributing.

That’s why the next factor can be so important…

6. Feedback

When it comes to job satisfaction, no news is bad news.

Getting negative feedback can be painful, but at least it tells you where improvements can be made.

On the other hand, positive feedback can make all the difference to how satisfied people feel.

If you’re not getting feedback, then ask for it.

The right feedback can help satisfy the need for achievement.

7. Seek complexity and variety

People generally find jobs more satisfying if they are more complex and offer more variety.

People seem to like complex (but not impossible) jobs, perhaps because it pushes them more.

Too easy and people get bored.

This won’t be possible for all employees, but look for ways to add complexity and variety to your job.

You might think more complex work is best avoided, but the challenge will likely make you happier.

8. Ask for support

Workers often complain that the big bosses communicate little about the overall direction of the company.

People want to know their organisation cares about them, that they are getting something back for what they are putting in.

We get this message from how the boss treats us, the kinds of fringe benefits we get and other subtle messages.

If people perceive more organisational support, they are happier with their job.

If this area is lacking, try asking your manager for more information and support, and point out why it is needed.

9. Honeymoons and hangovers

People experience honeymoon periods after a month or two in a new job when their satisfaction shoots up.

But then it normally begins to tail off after six months or so.

The honeymoon period at the start of a new job tends to be stronger when people are particularly dissatisfied with their previous job (Boswell et al., 2009).

But what about when the honeymoon period is long gone and you’ve entered a long hangover?

Sometimes the only way to be happier at work is to find new work.

10. Happy in life, happy at work

People who are generally happy find it easier to find happiness at work.

That’s according to an analysis of 223 studies on the connection between job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Bowling et al., 2010).

Lead author, Nathan Bowling said:

    “…if people are, or are predisposed to be, happy and satisfied in life generally, then they will be likely to be happy and satisfied in their work.

However, the flipside of this finding could be that those people who are dissatisfied generally and who seek happiness through their work, may not find job satisfaction.

Nor might they increase their levels of overall happiness by pursuing it.”

This is worth remembering for those people who never seem to be happy with whatever job they are doing.

Sometimes the kind of happiness you are looking for cannot be achieved through work.

source: Psyblog

 


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9 Ways to Get Your Energy Back

Running on fumes? Here’s how to stop feeling so tired all the time.

By Peter Jaret     WebMD Feature     Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD

You’re only as old as you feel, the saying goes. But what if you feel old, tired, and rundown?

Fatigue is a common complaint, especially after people hit middle age. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to boost energy. Some even slow the aging process.

Here’s how to refill your tank when your energy levels sputter.

1. Rule out health problems.

Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor if you feel unusually tired.

Many medications can contribute to fatigue. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, diuretics, and other drugs. If you begin to experience fatigue after starting a new medication, tell your doctor.

2. Get moving.

The last thing you may feel like doing when you’re tired is exercising. But many studies show that physical activity boosts energy levels.

“Exercise has consistently been linked to improved vigor and overall quality of life,” says Kerry J. Stewart, professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “People who become active have a greater sense of self-confidence. But exercise also improves the working efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles,” Stewart says. “That’s the equivalent of improving the fuel efficiency of a car. It gives you more energy for any kind of activity.”

3. Strike a pose.

Although almost any exercise is good, yoga may be especially effective for boosting energy. After six weeks of once-a-week yoga classes, volunteers in a British study reported improvements in clear-mindedness, energy, and confidence.

It’s never too late to try, either. University of Oregon researchers offered yoga instruction to 135 men and women ages 65 to 85. At the end of six months, participants reported an increased sense of well-being and a boost in overall energy.

4. Drink plenty of water.

Dehydration zaps energy and impairs physical performance. “Our research shows that dehydration makes it harder for athletes to complete a weight lifting workout,” says Dan Judelson, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University at Fullerton. “It’s reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue even for people who are just doing chores.”

Dehydration has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.

How to know if you’re drinking enough water?“Urine should be pale yellow or straw colored,” Judelson says. “If it’s darker than that, you need to drink water.”

5. Get to bed early.

Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents and is one of the leading causes of daytime fatigue. The solution: Get to bed early enough for a full night’s sleep.

When people enrolled in a 2004 Stanford University study were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted, they reported more vigor and less fatigue. Good sleep habits may also have important health benefits. Centenarians report better than average sleep.

If you do fall short on shut-eye, take a brief afternoon nap. Napping restores wakefulness and promotes performance and learning. A 10-minute nap is usually enough to boost energy. Don’t nap longer than 30 minutes, though, or you may have trouble sleeping that night. A nap followed by a cup of coffee may provide an even bigger energy boost, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

source: webmd.com


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More People Worldwide Eating ‘Healthy’ Fats, Study Finds

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Levels of healthy fats in people’s diets worldwide increased over the past two decades, while their intake of harmful fats stayed about the same, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on consumption of fats and oils in 266 countries between 1990 and 2010. During that time, overall intake of omega-6, seafood omega-3 and plant omega-3 rose, while consumption of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and trans fat remained stable.

The Harvard School of Public Health-led study was written on behalf of the Global Burden of Diseases Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group. It was published online April 15 in the BMJ and appears in the April 19 print issue.

Saturated fats can be found in foods such as high-fat cheeses, high-fat meat cuts, cream and whole-fat milk, ice cream products, and palm and coconut oils, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends cutting back on saturated fats.

Global saturated fat intake averaged 9.4 percent in 2010, but there were wide variations between countries, ranging from 2.3 percent to 27.5 percent, the new study found.

The highest levels of saturated fat consumption were in Samoa, Kiribati and other palm-oil producing island nations, along with Sri Lanka, Romania and Malaysia. The lowest intake was in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bolivia, Bhutan and Pakistan, according to a Harvard news release.

Naturally occurring trans fats are found in smaller amounts in dairy products and fatty parts of meat. Americans continue to consume high levels of artificial trans fat in fried foods, savory snacks, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, pie, margarine and spreads, frosting and coffee creamers, according to the CDC, which also recommends reducing trans fat intake.

Global trans fat intake was 1.4 percent and ranged from 0.2 percent to 6.5 percent among countries, the new study found. Worldwide cholesterol intake was 228 milligrams (mg) per day, but ranged from 97 mg to 440 mg per day.

The CDC recommends that people get most of their dietary fat, including omega-6s and omega-3s, from sources such as nuts, vegetable oils and fish

In the study, intake of seafood omega-3s was 163 mg per day worldwide, but varied from 5 mg to 3,886 mg per day among countries, researchers found. Higher levels of intake were in Maldives, Barbados, the Seychelles, Iceland, Malaysia, Thailand, Denmark, South Korea and Japan.

Very low levels of seafood-omega-3s intake were found in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, some Asian regions and the Middle East. These regions have 3 billion adults and account for nearly 67 percent of the world’s adult population, the news release noted.

In most nations and regions, men and women had similar intake levels of fats and oils. Women generally consumed slightly more saturated fat and plant omega-3s than men. Younger people generally consumed more trans fats, while older people typically consumed more dietary cholesterol and seafood omega-3 fats, the study found.

It’s believed that poor diet is the leading modifiable cause of poor health worldwide. By 2020, poor diet will likely play a role in about 75 percent of all deaths from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to the news release.

source: news.health.com


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Hippocrates’ Diet and Health Rules Everyone Should Follow

All new doctors today still pledge to do no harm, which may be Hippocrates’ most famous legacy. But much of the ancient Greek physician’s wisdom applies to everyone—not just those who have medical degrees. “Hippocrates was a visionary who figured out the most important ways we can stay healthy, all of which have been proved by modern science,” says David Katz, MD, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author of the book Disease Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well.

Here are five of his health rules that have stood the test of time (about 2,000 years).

1. Walking Is Man’s Best Medicine.

“Hippocrates did the first clinical studies by observing people and comparing their health habits,” says Brian Clement, PhD, codirector of the Hippocrates Health Institute, a nonprofit center in West Palm Beach, Florida. He noticed that “bodies grow relaxed and squat … through their sedentary lives,” which led to various illnesses. Those who walked more stayed well longer. So he often prescribed exercise.

Today’s translation: Dozens of studies show that even 30 minutes of walking a day lowers your risk for diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. A recent National Cancer Institute study on more than 650,000 people found that those who walked briskly for just 150 minutes a week gained an average of 3.4 years of life expectancy. “There’s no drug that can give you those kinds of

benefits,” says Clement.


2. Know What Person the Disease Has Rather Than What Disease the Person Has.

Hippocrates meticulously examined his patients’ urine, stools, pus, and sweat. But he also observed their personalities, home environment, relationships, diet, and even their facial expressions before diagnosing and treating them. “He believed that it was impossible to understand illness without understanding the whole person,” says David H. Newman, MD, director of clinical research, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and author of Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine.

Today’s translation: Dr. Katz treats a lot of patients for obesity, and one of the first things he asks is whether they have toxic relationships, a stressful job, or poor sleep. “There’s no way for these people to lose weight until they fix these issues,” he says. “You’ve got to find out what’s setting a problem in motion, then reverse engineer it. When you treat the whole person, weight loss—and many other medical problems—becomes astonishingly easy to deal with.”

3. Let Food Be Thy Medicine.

Hippocrates observed that “those who are constitutionally very fat are more apt to die quickly than those who are thin” and recognized that when people ate mainly a fresh, plant-based diet, they developed fewer diseases. His primary form of treatment was usually improving a patient’s diet.

Today’s translation: No matter what eating style you follow, if it’s based on unprocessed foods, colorful plants, and little added sugar, you’re likely to be healthier and live longer, says cardiologist Joel K. Kahn, MD, a Reader’s Digest columnist and the author of The Holistic Heart Book. Consider this powerful research: A 2013 study of more than 7,000 people published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who ate a Mediterranean-style diet were 30 percent less likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack than those assigned to follow a low-fat diet. The link between food and health has to do with epigenetics, the study of how lifestyle and environment influence the expression of your genes. Processed foods with sugar, animal saturated fats and trans fats, and artificial chemicals can activate disease-causing genes that might have stayed dormant otherwise; they also lack the healthy nutrients that activate protective genes, says Dr. Kahn.

4. Everything in Moderation.

OK, what Hippocrates really said: “Everything in excess is opposed to nature.” He recognized that the same remedy could heal in one dose but harm in a greater one. For example, he prescribed wine as part of a healthy diet and to combat pain in childbirth. But Hippocrates also observed that his patients developed gout if they continually drank to excess. When he convinced them to temper their habits, the inflammatory disease disappeared.

Today’s translation: “We all love to take good things to the extreme,” says Dr. Katz. “But exercise, water, supplements, and sleep can all be damaging if you overdo them.” Even too much kale can be harmful because it can prevent your thyroid from absorbing the iodine it needs.

5. To Do Nothing Is Also a Good Remedy.

In Hippocrates’ day, many quacks convinced sick people to undergo dangerous, unnecessary, and expensive procedures. “But Hippocrates believed that unless you had real evidence that a medical treatment was helpful, you shouldn’t use it,” says Dr. Newman.

Today’s translation: In this age of advanced medicine, it’s harder than ever for doctors to resist ordering tests, procedures, and treatments—even if they’re unnecessary. “I often point out to my patients that the best diagnostic tool we have is time,” explains Dr. Katz. “If we don’t know what to do, let’s not just do ‘something.’ Doctors have a knee-jerk reaction to order tests and procedures when they might even lead to harm.” Back pain, for example, will often resolve itself within three months with such simple remedies as ice, heat, over-the-counter pain relievers, and gentle exercise.

“A patient may say, ‘Look, I’m suffering, and you have to do something,’ which creates a lot of pressure on doctors,” says Richard J. Baron, MD, president of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, a nonprofit established to improve medical professionalism. The result: pointless treatments like prescribing an antibiotic for a cold. “It certainly won’t help, and it could cause an allergic reaction, a yeast infection, or dangerous diarrhea, not to mention antibiotic resistance,” says Dr. Baron.

That’s why it’s essential that patients and doctors work together to avoid needless tests or drugs. If your doctor wants to prescribe medication at the first sign of high cholesterol or high blood pressure, ask if you can change your diet and exercise routine first, says Dr. Kahn.

The ABIM Foundation created a campaign called Choosing Wisely, in which dozens of specialty medical societies—from those of cardiologists to surgeons to gynecologists—developed lists of five procedures or tests doctors and patients should question. View them at choosingwisely.org/doctor-patient-lists.

source: rd.com


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Green Tea Improves Working Memory

New evidence for the cognitive benefits of tea comes from a study published in Psychopharmacology.

Researchers at the University of Basel have now found that green tea extract can improve working memory (Schmidt et al., 2014).

Working memory is vital to holding pieces of visual, verbal or other information in your mind while you manipulate them.

Better working memory has been linked to improved learning, attention and other vital outcomes.

Synaptic functioning

In their study, participants were given a drink which sometimes contained green tea extract and were then asked to complete a series of tests of their working memory.

 

Tea boosts connections between frontal and parietal regions of the brain.

Either way the drink looked and tasted the same, whether or not it contained green tea extract.

Meanwhile, their brains were scanned to see how the green tea affected synaptic functioning.

What the researchers found was that not only did participants do better on the tests after ingesting the green tea, but that it enhanced the connections between the frontal and parietal regions of the brain.

The findings are interesting especially for older adults, as a series of studies have suggested green tea may be beneficial in this area:

    “…consumption of green tea improved memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairments and that the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods such as green tea reduced beta-amyloid-mediated cognitive impairments.

    [...]

    Furthermore, higher consumption of green tea has also been associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairments in older adults.” (Schmidt et al., 2014).

Source: www.spring.org.uk


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What 10 Things Should You Do Every Day To Improve Your Life?

10 things that scientific research shows can help improve your life.

1) Get out in nature

You probably seriously underestimate how important this is. (Actually, there’s research that says you do.) Being in nature reduces stress, makes you more creative, improves your memory and may even make you a better person.

2) Exercise

We all know how important this is, but few people do it consistently. Other than health benefits too numerous to mention, exercise makes you smarter, happier, improves sleep, increases libido and makes you feel better about your body. A Harvard study that has tracked a group of men for more than 70 years identified it as one of the secrets to a good life.

3) Spend time with friends and family

Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert identified this as one of the biggest sources of happiness in our lives. Relationships are worth more than you think (approximately an extra $131,232 a year.) Not feeling socially connected can make you stupider and kill you. Loneliness can lead to heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The longest lived people on the planet all place a strong emphasis on social engagement and good relationships are more important to a long life than even exercise. Friends are key to improving your life. Share good news and enthusiatically respond when others share good news with you to improve your relationships. Want to instantly be happier? Do something kind for them.

4) Express gratitude

  • It will make you happier.
  • It will improve your relationships.
  • It can make you a better person.
  • It can make life better for everyone around you.
Gratitude

5) Meditate

Meditation can increase happiness, meaning in life, social support and attention span while reducing anger, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Along similar lines, prayer can make you feel better — even if you’re not religious.

6) Get enough sleep

You can’t cheat yourself on sleep and not have it affect you. Being tired actually makes it harder to be happy. Lack of sleep = more likely to get sick. “Sleeping on it” does improve decision making. Lack of sleep can make you more likely to behave unethically. There is such a thing as beauty sleep.

Naps are great too. Naps increase alertness and performance on the job, enhance learning ability and purge negative emotions while enhancing positive ones. Here’s how to improve your naps.

7) Challenge yourself

Learning another language can keep your mind sharp. Music lessons increase intelligence. Challenging your beliefs strengthens your mind. Increasing willpower just takes a little effort each day and it’s more responsible for your success than IQ. Not getting an education or taking advantage of opportunities are two of the things people look back on their lives and regret the most.

8) Laugh

People who use humor to cope with stress have better immune systems, reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, experience less pain during dental work and live longer. Laughter should be like a daily vitamin. Just reminiscing about funny moments can improve your relationship. Humor has many benefits.

9) Touch someone

Touching can reduce stress, improve team performance, and help you be persuasive. Hugs make you happier. Sex may help prevent heart attacks and cancer, improve your immune system and extend your life.

10) Be optimistic

Optimism can make you healthier, happier and extend your life. The Army teaches it in order to increase mental toughness in soldiers. Being overconfident improves performance.


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It’s Time to Pay Attention to Sleep, the New Health Frontier

Alexandra Sifferlin   @acsifferlin    April 9, 2014

Your doctor could soon be prescribing crucial shuteye as treatment for everything from obesity to ADHD to mental health as experts say carving out time for sleep is just as important as diet and exercise

After being diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in 2011, Lynn Mitchell, 68, was averaging about an hour of solid sleep a night. Stressed about her treatments, she was paying for it in hours of lost sleep.

The brain cancer was already affecting her mobility—Mitchell was often dizzy and would lose her balance—but the lack of sleep was exacerbating things. Even walking became increasingly difficult. Exhausted in the mornings, she was practically incoherent. When her doctors recommend she see a sleep therapist, Mitchell was relieved at how benign it sounded in comparison to the chemotherapy she had undergone and the gene therapy trial she was undergoing, which had side effects like nausea and fatigue.

For about nine weeks, Mitchell worked with the sleep therapist to adjust her sleep habits. She got under the covers only when she was extremely tired. She quit watching TV in bed. She stopped drinking caffeinated coffee in the evening. She also learned breathing exercises to relax and help her drift off. It was all quite simple and common sense, and, most importantly, noninvasive and didn’t require popping any pills.

“It’s common knowledge that sleep is needed for day to day function,” says Dr. David Rapoport, director of the Sleep Medicine Program at NYU School of Medicine. “What isn’t common knowledge is that it really matters—it’s not just cosmetic.” Rapoport has long seen people seek sleep therapy because they’re chronically tired or suffering from insomnia, but an increasing number of patients are being referred to his center for common diseases, disorders, and mental health.

Researchers have known for some time that sleep is critical for weight maintenance and hormone balance. And too little sleep is linked to everything from diabetes to heart disease to depression. Recently, the research on sleep has been overwhelming, with mounting evidence that it plays a role in nearly every aspect of health. Beyond chronic illnesses, a child’s behavioral problems at school could be rooted in mild sleep apnea. And studies have shown children with ADHD are more likely to get insufficient sleep. A recent study published in the journal SLEEP found a link between older men with poor sleep quality and cognitive decline. Another study out this week shows sleep is essential in early childhood for development, learning, and the formation and retention of memories. Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen, a pioneer of sleep research at the University of Chicago, once said, “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process ever made.”

But to many of us, sleep is easily sacrificed, especially since lack of it isn’t seen as life threatening. Over time, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, but we mostly sacrifice a night of sleep here and there, and always say that we’ll “catch up.” Luckily, it is possible to make up for sleep debt (though it can take a very long time), but most Americans are still chronically sleep deprived.

While diet and exercise have been a part of public health messaging for decades, doctors and health advocates are now beginning to argue that getting quality sleep may be just as important for overall health. “Sleep is probably easier to change than diet or exercise,” says Dr. Michael Grandner, a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “It may also give you more of an immediate reward if it helps you get through your day.” Sleep experts claim that it is one of the top three, and sometimes the most, important lifestyle adjustments one can make, in addition to diet and exercise. And while there’s more evidence linking diet and exercise as influential health factors, sleep is probably more important in terms of brain and hormonal function, Grandner says. “Among a small group of [sleep researchers], it’s always been said that [eating, exercise, and sleep] are the three pillars of health,” says Dr. Rapoport.

 

 Sleep

In our increasingly professional and digital lives, where there are now more things than ever competing for the hours in our day, carving out time for sleep is not only increasingly difficult, but also more necessary. Using technology before bed stimulates us and interferes with our sleep, yet 95% of Americans use some type of electronics like a computer, TV, or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour before we go to bed, according to a 2011 National Sleep Foundation survey. “Many doctors, lawyers, and executives stay up late and get up early and burn the candle at both ends,” says Dr. Richard Lang, chair of Preventative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “Making sure they pay attention to sleep in the same way they pay attention to diet and exercise is crucial.”

To some, sleep has become a powerful antidote to mental health. Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, advocates that sleep is the secret to success, happiness, and peak performance. After passing out a few years ago from exhaustion and cracking a cheekbone against her desk, Huffington has become something of a sleep evangelist. In a 2010 TEDWomen conference, Huffington said, “The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.” Research linking high-quality sleep with better mental health is growing; a 2013 study found that treating depressed patients for insomnia can double their likelihood of overcoming the disorder.

While 70% of physicians agree that inadequate sleep is a major health problem, only 43% counsel their patients on the benefits of adequate sleep. But there’s growing pressure on primary care physicians to address, and even prescribe, sleep during routine check-ups. In a recent study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, the researchers concluded that health professionals should prescribe sleep to prevent and treat metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes. And overlooking sleep as a major health issue can also have deadly consequences. It was recently reported that the operator of the Metro-North train that derailed in New York last year, killing four people and injuring more than 70, had an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea.

Sleep therapies can range from simply learning new lifestyle behaviors to promote sleep, to figuring out how to position oneself in bed. More drastic measures involve surgery to open up an airway passage for people suffering from disorders like sleep apnea. Sleeping pills can be prescribed too, to get much needed rest, but sleep therapists tend to favor other approaches because of possible dependencies developing.

A large part of reaping the benefits of sleep is knowing when you’re not getting the right amount. According to a 2013 Gallup survey, 40% of Americans get less than the recommended seven to eight hours a night. While the typical person still logs about 6.8 hours of sleep per night, that’s a drop from the 7.9 Americans were getting in the 1940s.

When it comes to adequate sleep, it’s much more personalized than previously thought. Some people feel great on five hours of rest, while others need ten. The best way to determine if you’re getting the right amount, doctors say, is to find out how many hours of sleep you need to be able to wake up without an alarm and feel rested, refreshed, and energetic throughout the day.

Since reforming her sleep habits, Mitchell has been clocking up to seven hours of shuteye a night for the past two months. “I’m alert in the morning, my balance is better, and I feel peppier,” says Mitchell. Getting enough sleep has helped her better deal with her cancers, and its symptoms. The best news is that she recently found out that her brain tumor is shrinking, and there are fewer cancerous spots on her lungs.

source: Time
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