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Health Tips to Carry Forward into 2013
As you make and try to keep your resolutions for 2013, you will be helped if you keep in mind the advances made in medicine and health in 2012. The year gave us a new appreciation for ways to cut health care costs. It fine-tuned our understanding of just what is — and isn't — low fat. It introduced walnuts as fertility food and gave the green light to sex after a heart attack.
Here are more of the most useful research findings of 2012 to carry with you to improve your health and well being in the New Year.
Give Sleep a Chance
Sleep is one of your health's best friends. Most of us get too little of it. When the schedules we keep are fundamentally out of sync with our internal clocks, we begin to suffer from social jet lag. Our body's internal clock, along with the sun's movements, cues us to wake and sleep at certain times of the day. By staying up late, spending more time in darkness, we delay our bodies' clocks. Lack of sleep also increases insulin sensitivity, leading to weight gain and diabetes.
Technology is sleep's enemy in our 24/7 world. WiFi has made it easy to use your laptop or tablet in bed (is that where you are now?). But studies have found that melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night and in the dark which helps set the body's biological clock, is reduced by 22% in those who spend a couple of hours surfing the internet before turning off the light. This disrupts the body's clock and can lead to sleep disturbances, disruptions of mood and even interfere with vaccines' effectiveness. If the disruptions continue for long periods of time, the complications can be more serious. Don't rob yourself of sleep.