Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

There are certain traits that lend themselves to “revenge bedtime procrastination.”

There’s also a way out.

a woman on her phone late at night
PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES 

AS A SELF-PROCLAIMED night owl, I’m rarely surprised when I lift my eyes from Instagram and see that it’s well past when I intended to go to sleep. Here’s how I explain it to myself: I’ve always stayed up late, and now the only time I get to myself is when my husband and daughter are asleep. Here’s what’s actually going on: I’m procrastinating.

Some researchers call this bedtime procrastination or while-in-bed procrastination, while the Chinese word for it translates to “revenge bedtime procrastination.” No matter what you call it, in my case, it involves a combination of technology and anxiety; I worry that I won’t be able to fall asleep quickly, so I tell myself that I’ll just scroll through social media until I’m exhausted. It is this—along with a lack of what researchers refer to as self-regulation—that makes me a textbook sleep procrastinator.

How Sleep Procrastination Happens

The idea of sleep procrastination was first introduced in a 2014 study from the Netherlands, defining the act simply as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” Revenge was added to the title in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, but as a concept, it has actually been around for much longer.

According to Alessandra Edwards, a performance expert, revenge bedtime procrastination is quite common in people who feel they don’t have control over their time (such as those in high-stress occupations) and are looking for a way to regain some personal time, even if it means staying up too late.

“When it comes to the evening, they categorically refuse to go to bed early, at a time they know will suit them best and enable them to get adequate restorative sleep and feel better,” explains Edwards. “Nevertheless there is a sense of retaliation against life, so there is an idea of revenge to stay awake and do whatever fills their bucket.”

How Your Personality May Contribute to Insufficient Sleep

Behavioral scientist Floor Kroese, an assistant professor in Health Psychology at Utrecht University and lead author on the study that first introduced bedtime procrastination, notes that there is also a link between procrastinating in daily life and sleep procrastination.

“An interesting difference may be that people typically procrastinate on tasks they find aversive—housework, homework, boring tasks—while sleeping for most people is not aversive at all,” says Kroese. “It might be the bedtime routines that precede going to bed that people dislike or just that they do not like quitting whatever they were doing.”

In an additional study from 2014, performed with a wider number of participants, Kroese and team argued that lack of self-regulation—associated with personality traits such as being impulsive or easily distracted—is a possible cause of sleep procrastination. While self-regulation and procrastination may sound like opposite sides of the same coin, they are actually different; one study from 2019 differentiates the two by defining procrastination as delaying an action, while self-regulation refers to “thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that guide individuals to set personal goals.”

For those unable to self-regulate, Edwards adds that the time before bed may be the only time to process the emotional backlog from the day, including “frustration and anger, or fear and anxiety they may have felt during the day but shut out.”

Kroese’s research indicates that “self-regulation interventions” could be helpful at improving sleeping behavior, and therefore reducing sleep procrastination. Getting adequate sleep requires more than just setting a bedtime (especially considering that self-regulation comes with thoughts and feelings, and not just behaviors).

This is where sleep specialists such as Michael Breus—known professionally as “the Sleep Doctor”—diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, come in.

How a ‘Power-Down Hour’ Can Reduce Sleep Procrastination

Breus studies the science of helping people sleep, and he helps patients with a technique he calls the “Power-Down Hour.” Featured in his first book, Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, it is a strategy to slow your mind down while getting you to step away from technology and address daily procrastination (that could lead to sleep procrastination).

The Power-Down Hour is composed of three 20-minute segments:

  • The first 20 minutes are dedicated to things that need to be done.
  • The second 20 minutes are set aside for hygiene (such as a hot bath).
  • The final 20 minutes are for relaxation (such as meditation, prayer, or journaling).

The order of each segment is what Breus claims is “the secret ingredient.” With this technique, you are not only addressing specific behaviors of self-regulation; you are also considering the thoughts and feelings element. While this may seem like a simple solution for those of us who find ourselves scrolling late into the night, Breus acknowledges that there is an added element of FOMO, due in part to the pandemic, making the Power-Down Hour seem a bit more daunting.

“I understand that people are not having any real alone time right now, and that scrolling on your phone is fun, but you lose track of time,” says Breus. “My big question is: If you want some ‘me’ time, why not schedule it? If you just can’t figure that out, set a timer and give yourself a pattern interrupt. When the timer goes off, go brush your teeth, come back, and—if you just have to scroll—set it for 15 minutes and try again.”

Breus’s Power-Down Hour is in line with others’ findings, Kroese says a specific if-then plan (“If it is 11 pm, then I will go upstairs to brush my teeth”) and sleep hygiene habits, “such as making sure to end your day with relaxing activities, dimming the light, and keeping your bedroom distraction-free,” is a promising strategy for those who are experiencing bedtime procrastination due to self-regulation issues.

By breaking up the last hour before you want to be asleep, you are not only enacting a clear plan but also addressing any tasks you may have missed or pushed. You’re taking charge of your health with a routine and managing any potentially suppressed emotions from the day. And all of this is to get ample rest and tackle the next day head-on (no revenge needed).

Article written by ASHLEY LAURETTA for Wired Magazine

Source: Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t | WIRED

5 Ways to Stop Post-Nasal Drip

By Jessica Migala  for Livestrong.com

woman in bed drinking water to stop post-nasal drip

Staying hydrated is always important, and especially when you’re dealing with post-nasal drip.Image Credit: Maskot/Maskot/GettyImages

Nose gunk in general isn’t fun, but when it drips down the back of your throat? Yuck

Post-nasal drip is the secretions from mucus originating from the back of your nasal passages, David Erstein, MD, a board-certified allergist and immunologist working with Advanced Dermatology PC in New York City, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Fun fact: The glands in your nose and throat produce one or two quarts of mucus per day, notes the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. And that mucus plays an important role in your health, keeping your nasal lining clean and moist and stopping infection. Post-nasal drip can occur as a result of allergies, acid reflux, sinusitis or a viral infection like a cold or flu.

You might have post-nasal drip if you, well, feel mucus dripping in the back of your throat, find yourself swallowing or clearing your throat often or have a sore throat, the Foundation points out. It may also taste pretty gross, too.

While there are medications that can help, it’s best to try non-drug treatments first, Dr. Erstein says. Over-the-counter meds are generally safe, but they come with a risk of side effects and can interact with other meds you might be on.

Here’s where to start to stop post-nasal drip:

1. Try Nasal Irrigation

woman using neti pot to stop post-nasal drip

A neti pot can help flush out your nose and provide relief for post-nasal drip.Image Credit: South_agency/E+/GettyImages

Nasal saline (salt water) sprays and saline rinse kits are effective, non-medication treatments for post-nasal drip, Dr. Erstein says. These are available as squeeze bottles and sprays, and some people like to use neti pots (small containers usually shaped like a teapot that are designed to rinse out your nose).

If you do use a neti pot, use distilled or sterile water; tap water is not safe to use in your nasal passages, per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

2. Drink Water

Filling your glass with more H2O is never a bad idea, and it’s even more important when you’re dealing with too much mucus.

“Make sure you are hydrated to thin out the secretions,” Dr. Erstein says.

Plus, you’ll wash away any yucky taste, too.

3. Sleep Propped Up

When laying down, mucus can collect at the back of your throat, making you cough (and probably disturbing your sleep).

To stop post-nasal drip from waking you up, put an extra pillow under your head, which will help gravity usher down the drip while you snooze.

4. Run a Humidifier at Night

woman sleeping with an air humidifier to get rid of post-nasal drip

Higher humidity can help tamp down mucus and stop post-nasal drip.Image Credit: MICROGEN IMAGES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library/GettyImages

Dry air irritates sinuses and can cause your body to ramp up mucus production. To counter that, upping the humidity in your room while you sleep can help clear your nasal passages.

If you use a humidifier, though, make sure to clean the filter as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent mold growth, something that can make breathing more difficult, especially if you have allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

5. Consider Medications for Post-Nasal Drip

If things like saline rinses, drinking water, sleeping more upright and running a humidifier don’t work, then you can turn to a medication for short-term relief, Dr. Erstein says.

Options include:

  • Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), which relieve congestion and decrease excess mucus
  • Mucinex to thin and loosen mucus
  • Nasal decongestants like Afrin
  • Antihistamines

Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. For example, people who have high blood pressure are usually told to avoid decongestants (because these narrow blood vessels), Dr. Erstein says. And nasal decongestants like Afrin should not be used for more than three days, because prolonged use can worsen congestion.

(Note: If you get sore throats every spring, like I do, this could be the cause.)

Source: 5 Ways to Stop Post-Nasal Drip, According to a Doctor | Livestrong.com

7 Foods That’ll Fix Your Upset Stomach ASAP

Slide 1 of 7: Yup, straight up Saltines.The Mayo Clinic recommends these (and the rest of the foods that follow) because they are bland and easy-to-digest.Simple, but that's the point.

© Magdalena Niemczyk – ElanArt

1) Soda Crackers

Yup, straight up Saltines.

The Mayo Clinic recommends these (and the rest of the foods that follow) because they are bland and easy-to-digest.

Simple, but that’s the point.

2) Toast

Make it dry and white, if you can. Now is not the time for fancy butter or spreads. Nor is it the place for whole-wheat or seeded bread. Fiber is your friend, but not when your stomach needs a rest.

3) Gelatin

There’s a reason why hospitals serve Jell-O (or whatever the generic hospital equivalent is). Gelatin is an tasty vessel for easily-digestible carbohydrates that can help you put down a foundation of calories for recovery.

4) A Banana

More easily digestible carbohydrates here too. Remember: Go easy at first. Try half a banana, pop the other half in the fridge, give it a beat, and then return to the banana as needed.

5) Applesauce

If you’re figuring out that eating like a toddler can help your stomach feel better, you’re on to something.

6) White Rice

Not brown rice. Not wild rice. Not black rice. Not red rice.

What about forbidden rice?

Also forbidden.

Just stick with white rice, which is very low in stomach-taxing fiber.

7) Plain Chicken Breast

Okay now this is more advanced. Unlike the other foods on this list, chicken breast is protein instead of an easily digestible carb. That means that your stomach is going to process it a little differently, a little more slowly than the others.

So if you’ve tried a few other items on this list and things are going okay, maybe it’s time to try a little chicken.

One easy test if you’re ready: If you can look at the accompanying picture of chicken and think that it looks like something you might want to eat, then you can probably eat it without issue.

Article for Men’s Health by Paul Kita

Source: 7 Foods That’ll Fix Your Upset Stomach ASAP (msn.com)

Don’t laminate your COVID vaccination card before doing these 5 things

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© MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto|, CDC

More than a dozen states are opening COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults this week, which means more Americans could soon be getting some form of a vaccination card — and wondering where they should keep it.  

You see, the three-by-four-inch paper vaccination card designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is too big for most wallets, let alone the standard credit card pockets sewn into wallets and purses. So questions about how to keep your vaccination card safe, and whether you should laminate it, have been popping up online.

Enterprising vendors on Etsy and Amazon are already selling vaccine card holders and sleeves, some of which are looped to decorative lanyards. And retailers including OfficeMax and Office Depot, as well as Staples, are offering free lamination services without purchase for those who want to protect their vaccine cards. (What’s more, “I’m vaccinated” merch is also giving Etsy sellers another shot at profits. )

“I’m getting asked about this a lot more as more people get vaccinated, and they’re starting to see vaccination requirements to go to a sporting event or to travel,” Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Ethics, told MarketWatch.

The U.S. has no central database for immunizations, The Wall Street Journal reports, and there is no one standard proof for COVID-19 vaccinations. In fact, the COVID vaccination cards are not necessarily uniform, since some states and local authorities are handing out their own cards rather than using the CDC’s version. So this means your vaccination card is the only physical proof that you’ve received your shot or shots at the moment, and you’ll want to take good care of it. 

Caplan said that he started telling people to laminate their cards two months ago. “Knowing who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 is going to be crucial in the months to come,” he said, “and it’s going to be absolutely crucial for getting into events, traveling, maybe even getting into work.”

And while some people have expressed concern that laminating vaccine cards now could create issues if you need a COVID shot booster down the road, Caplan waved those concerns away. “If you get a booster, you’ll probably get a new card anyway,” he said. 

But health experts told MarketWatch that there are some things you should do before you rush to get your vaccination card laminated, if you choose to go that route versus buying a sleeve or a lanyard. 

Make sure the information on your vaccination card is accurate

Make sure that your name and birthdate are correct, and that the card includes which vaccine you received, and the right date and location. “At your first appointment, if anything looks wrong, make sure they write down the right information before you leave,” Caplan said. If you are getting a two-dose vaccine, you also want to make sure that you are being given the correct vaccine at your second appointment.

If you are not given a vaccine card, the CDC suggests that you contact the vaccination provider’s site where you got vaccinated, or your state health department, to find out how you can get a card. 

Ask where your vaccination record is being kept

“You want to know where this information is being recorded digitally, in case you lose your card,” Caplan explained. Ask someone at your vaccination location, and if for some reason they cannot tell you, you can also try checking your state health department’s immunization information system (ISS). The CDC notes that some places may also enroll you in online tools like V-safe or VaxText after your first dose, where you can also access your vaccination information. 

Photograph both sides of your vaccination card, and email the photos to yourself

If you have a camera phone, Dr. Leanne Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, recommends taking a picture of both sides of your vaccine card ASAP, and marking it as a “favorite” in your phone’s photo album in some way, or perhaps storing the images in a mobile wallet. “I would email the pictures to myself, too,” she said, “just to make sure that there’s another copy of it.” 

If you don’t have a camera phone, then take a photograph of the card with a camera when you get home. Store those images in a safe place, including emailing them to yourself.

Make a paper photocopy of both sides of your vaccination card

In the same vein, make a hard copy of your vaccination card — perhaps at one of the retailers where you’re getting the card laminated, if you choose to go that route. “When it comes to something like your COVID vaccination, you want to have this documentation at your fingertips,” said Wen. “That’s why having multiple copies of it available in different ways is a wise choice.” 

Don’t laminate your card until you get your second dose, if it’s a two-shot vaccine

The health care workers at your vaccination site are going to be writing down the details of your second dose on this card, if you’re getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, so you’ll want to wait until you’ve received both shots and confirmed the information for both is correct on your card before you get it laminated. If you are getting the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can go ahead and laminate it if you’d like after your one-and-done dose — although you should run through the above list first. 

Neither of the health professionals MarketWatch spoke with, nor the CDC, expressed concern about laminating the cards. It should be noted, however, that medical guidance is always subject to change as we get more information or new policies are put into place. Both Caplan and Wen said that you would probably get another card if you needed to get a booster shot, however. 

These health professionals and the CDC also offered some tips on where to keep your card, as well as what to do if your vaccine card is lost or damaged.

What if my vaccine card is lost or damaged?

Contact the place where you received your vaccine to access your vaccination record and get another card. 

If you cannot contact your vaccination provider for some reason, then reach out to your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). You can find state IIS information on the CDC website. The CDC notes that vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems, so the state should have a record of your vaccination. 

And if you enrolled in V-safe or VaxText after your first vaccine dose, if you are getting one of the two-shot vaccines, you can access your vaccination information using those tools.

Should I keep my vaccine card in my wallet or carry it with me at all times?

Neither Wen nor Caplan believe you need to keep your COVID vaccination card on you at this time, since so many people still remain unvaccinated. “Put it in the same place as all of your other important documents — your passport, your birth certificate,” Wen suggested. “There’s no reason for you to be carrying it around with you everywhere, especially if you have a digital copy on your phone. There are still really not enough people who have been vaccinated, that establishments have been setting up requirements for proof of vaccination yet.” 

“Right now, you don’t have to carry it when you’re out,” Caplan agreed. “I think in the future, if you are going to a Broadway show or a sporting event, you’ll need it.” So similar to something like a passport or birth certificate, you’ll just want to bring your card with you for special occasions. 

Keep in mind that this guidance could be subject to change, however. And it’s also possible that you’ll be able to prove that you’ve been vaccinated via an app, such as the digital Excelsior Pass being rolled out in New York. The state likens it to a mobile airline boarding pass, but for proving that you received a COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID test.

Article by Nicole Lyn Pesce for Market Watch

Source: Don’t laminate your COVID vaccination card before doing these 5 things (msn.com)

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Article By Marygrace Taylor and Jake Smith for Prevention©

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When you get a high blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office, it might be tough for you to understand exactly what impact those numbers can make on your overall health. After all, high blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) has no unusual day-to-day symptoms.

But the truth is that having high blood pressure is a serious health risk—it boosts the chances of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. What’s more, high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for nearly 500,000 people in 2018, per the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Even scarier? One in five U.S. adults with high blood pressure don’t know they have it, per the CDC. If you haven’t had your numbers checked in at least two years, see a doctor. Anything above 130/80 mmHg is considered high. (Systolic blood pressure is the top number; diastolic, the bottom.)

Although medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. The good news is that most people can bring their numbers down naturally, without using drugs. “Lifestyle changes are an important part of prevention and treatment of high blood pressure,” says Brandie D. Williams, M.D., a cardiologist at Texas Health Stephenville and Texas Health Physicians Group.

You’ve quit smoking. You’re paying attention to your weight. Now, try these natural ways to lower your blood pressure—no pills necessary.


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1. Get more exercise.

Regular exercise, even as simple as walking, seems to be just as effective at lowering blood pressure as commonly used BP drugs, according to a 2018 meta-analysis of hundreds of studies. Exercise strengthens the heart, meaning it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood. Dr. Williams recommends shooting for 30 minutes of cardio on most days. Over time, you can keep challenging your ticker by increasing speed, upping distance, or adding weights. Losing even a little weight will also help ease hypertension.


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2. Let yourself relax.

Our bodies react to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can raise your heart rate and constrict blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to spike. But breathing exercises and practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can help keep stress hormones—and your blood pressure—in check, Dr. Williams says. Start with five minutes of calming breathing or mindfulness in the morning and five minutes at night, then build up from there.


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3. Cut down on salt.

Although not everyone’s blood pressure is particularly salt-sensitive, everyone could benefit from cutting back, says Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for 1,500 mg of sodium in a day, and certainly no more than 2,300 mg (about a teaspoon). Obarzanek suggests treading with caution around packaged and processed foods, including secret salt bombs like bread, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches.


natural ways to lower blood pressure

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4. Pick potassium-rich foods.

Getting 2,000 to 4,000 mg of potassium a day can help lower blood pressure, says Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. (The nutrient encourages the kidneys to excrete more sodium through urination.) We all know about the potassium in bananas, but foods like potatoes, spinach, and beans actually pack more potassium than the fruit. Tomatoes, avocados, edamame, watermelon, and dried fruits are other great sources.


natural diets to lower blood pressure

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5. Adopt the DASH diet.

Alongside the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is consistently ranked as one of the absolute healthiest eating plans—and it was developed specifically to lower blood pressure without medication. The diet emphasizes veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy, capping daily sodium intake at 2,300 mg, with an ideal limit at that all-important 1,500 mg. Research shows DASH can reduce BP in just four weeks and even aid weight loss.


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6. Indulge in dark chocolate.

The sweet is rich in flavanols, which relax blood vessels and boost blood flow, and research suggests that regular dark chocolate consumption could lower your blood pressure. Experts haven’t determined an ideal percentage of cocoa, says Vivian Mo, M.D., clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, but the higher you go, the more benefits you’ll get. Chocolate can’t be your main strategy for managing blood pressure, Mo says—but when you’re craving a treat, it’s a healthy choice.


red wine for blood pressure

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7. Drink wisely.

Too much booze is known to raise blood pressure—but having just a little bit could do the opposite. Light-to-moderate drinking (one drink or fewer per day) is associated with a lower risk for hypertension in women, per a study following nearly 30,000 women. One drink means 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. “High levels of alcohol are clearly detrimental,” Obarzanek says, “but moderate alcohol is protective of the heart. If you are going to drink, drink moderately.”


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8. Switch to decaf.

A 2016 meta-analysis of 34 studies revealed that the amount of caffeine in one or two cups of coffee raises both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for up to three hours, tightening blood vessels and magnifying the effects of stress. “When you’re under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure,” says James Lane, Ph.D., a Duke University researcher who studies caffeine and cardiovascular health. “And caffeine exaggerates that effect.” Decaf has the same flavor without the side effects.


white cup of healthy rosemary tea pouring from teapot with fresh rosemary bunch on white wooden rustic background, winter herbal hot drink concept, salvia rosmarinus

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9. Take up tea.

It turns out that lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, tea. Adults with mildly high blood pressure who sipped three cups of naturally caffeine-free hibiscus tea daily lowered their systolic BP by seven points in six weeks, a 2009 study reported. And a 2014 meta-analysis found that consuming both caffeinated and decaf green tea is associated with significantly lowering BP over time. Tea’s polyphenols and phytochemicals (nutrients found only in fruits and veggies) could be behind its benefits.


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10. Work less.

Putting in more than 40 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 17%, according to a study of more than 24,000 California residents. Working overtime takes away time for exercise and healthy cooking, says Haiou Yang, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher. Not everyone can clock out early, but if you work a 9 to 5, try to log off at a decent hour so you can work out, cook, and relax. (To get in this habit, set an end-of-day reminder on your work computer and peace out as soon as you can.)


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11. Sit less, too.

In the age of working from home, it’s easier than ever to accidentally sit at your desk all day. Study after study after study has shown that interrupting prolonged sitting time at work can reduce hypertension, working in tandem with other practices like exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Simply get up for a bit every 20 to 30 minutes, and at least every hour—even non-exercise activities like standing and light walking really can lower BP over time, especially if you start to sit less and less.


best ways to lower blood pressure without medication

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12. Relax with music.

The right tunes (and a few deep breaths) can help bring your blood pressure down, according to research out of Italy. Researchers asked 29 adults who were already taking BP medication to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. When they followed up with the subjects six months later, their blood pressure had dropped significantly. Louder, faster music probably won’t do the trick, but there’s no harm in blissing out to an ambient track or two.


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13. Try fermented foods.

A 2020 meta-analysis of over 2,000 patients found that eating fermented foods—specifically supplements made from fermented milk—was associated with a moderate reduction in blood pressure in the short term. The culprit could be the bacteria living in these foods, which might produce certain chemicals that lower hypertension when they reach the blood. Other fermented foods, including kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut, haven’t been studied in the same way, but they probably can’t hurt.


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14. Seek help for snoring.

Loud, incessant snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that causes brief but dangerous breathing interruptions. Up to half of sleep apnea patients also live with hypertension, possibly due to high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. Fixing sleep apnea could be helpful for improving BP, says Robert Greenfield, M.D., medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology & Cardiac Rehabilitation at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute.


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15. Focus on protein.

Replacing refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sweets) with foods high in soy or milk protein (like tofu and low-fat dairy) can bring down systolic blood pressure in those with hypertension, findings suggest. “Some patients get inflammation from refined carbohydrates,” says Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., F.A.C.C., professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine and director of cardiac CT at the Division of Cardiology at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, “which will increase blood pressure.”

Source:

Sleep expert’s simple trick for getting an extra hour of sleep

By Sophie Haslett For Daily Mail Australia

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Omega 3 is the key to getting an extra hour of sleep every night, a sleep expert has claimed. Olivia Arezzolo, from Sydney, said her ‘simple trick’ can easily help you enjoy an extra 60 minutes of shut-eye, and this has been proven in clinical trials.

‘A recent study found that omega 3 supplementation without any other changes can support an individual in sleeping an extra hour,’ Olivia said in an Instagram video. ‘A deficiency in omega 3s can contribute to a deficiency in melatonin, the sleepiness hormone, while supplementing your body with it can support your melatonin levels, reduce your anxiety and make you sleepy.’

The sleep expert highlighted that you can either find omega 3 in foods such as oily fish like salmon or hemp seeds if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Other fish including mackerel, tuna and sardines are also rich in omega 3s. You can also find them in nuts and seeds and plant-based oils like flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.

a woman smiling for the camera: Olivia Arezzolo (pictured), from Sydney, said her 'simple trick' can easily help you enjoy an extra 60 minutes of shut-eye, and this has been proven in clinical trials
© Provided by Daily Mail Olivia Arezzolo (pictured), from Sydney, said her ‘simple trick’ can easily help you enjoy an extra 60 minutes of shut-eye, and this has been proven in clinical trials

‘Omega 3 is ideal for anxiety,’ Olivia added. ‘Studies show a 20 per cent decrease in anxiety after supplementation.’ 

If you struggle to eat omega 3s every day, you could also consider a supplement like The Beauty Chef’s Omega 3 Elixir and supplements like Nature’s Own and Nordic Naturals.

a person standing in front of water: Previously, Olivia (pictured) shared her 10-step bedtime routine that she follows every evening for the perfect night's sleep - which includes chamomile tea and meditation

What is Olivia’s 10-step bedtime routine?

1. Create a sleep sanctuary: Remove any blue light from iPhones and devices and keep your bedroom for sleep and relaxation.

2. Block blue light: Do not allow blue light into the bedroom and restrict this two hours from bedtime.

3. Set a goodnight alarm for your phone: At this point switch it off so you wake fully refreshed.

4. Diffuse lavender: Diffuse lavender either onto your pillows or throughout the room to promote relaxation.

5. Have an evening shower or bath: This helps to promote relaxation 45-60 minutes before bed.

6. Drink chamomile tea: Do this an hour before bed to make you calm.

7. Take a magnesium supplement: This helps the muscles to relax.

8. Practise gratitude: Think about what you are grateful for.

9. Try meditation: This can be useful to help you sleep.

10. Practise deep breathing: This makes it easier to sleep.

Olivia likes to drink a cup of chamomile tea and banish any blue light before she settles down in bed.  ‘Know that blue light, the spectrum of light suppressing melatonin and contributing to sleep difficulties, is emitted from your bathroom’s ceiling lights as well as the bedroom and your phone,’ Olivia said. 

For this reason, even if you work hard to avoid devices and reduce blue light exposure, this will still be undone the minute you go into your bathroom to go to the toilet or take an evening shower.

To find out more about Olivia Arezzolo, you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Instagram here. 

Source: Sleep expert’s simple trick for getting an extra hour of sleep (msn.com)

The CDC Warns Against Using These 6 Face Masks

BestLife article by Kali Coleman

Slide 1 of 7: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been providing the public with safety guidelines since the pandemic started. These recommendations have helped people all across the country reduce their risk of infection from COVID—particularly if the guidelines are followed in full. Sure, a mask will protect you, but only if it follows all the proper recommendations from the agency on fit, material, and more. For its part, the CDC explicitly warns against six different forms of face masks, as they are not recommended to protect against the coronavirus. Read on to find out which masks you shouldn't be using, and for more from the agency, The CDC Just Gave a Shocking COVID Vaccine Update.Read the original article on Best Life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been providing the public with safety guidelines since the pandemic started. These recommendations have helped people all across the country reduce their risk of infection from COVID—particularly if the guidelines are followed in full. Sure, a mask will protect you, but only if it follows all the proper recommendations from the agency on fit, material, and more. For its part, the CDC explicitly warns against six different forms of face masks, as they are not recommended to protect against the coronavirus. Read on to find out which masks you shouldn’t be using:

Slide 2 of 7: The CDC says your mask needs to fit properly, which means it should fit "snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face."Leann Poston, MD, a licensed physician and health advisor for Invigor Medical, says this is because properly fitting masks are the only ones that effectively stop large droplets that could spread and infect someone. Furthermore, masks that don't fit properly require the wearer to frequently touch their face and masks to readjust, and "touching your face can cause you to become infected and it also increases the spread of germs when you touch other objects after touching your mask," Poston explains. And for more on the limitations of masks, If You're Not Doing This, Your Mask Won't Protect You, Study Says.

1. Masks that do not fit properly

The CDC says your mask needs to fit properly, which means it should fit “snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face.”Leann Poston, MD, a licensed physician and health advisor for Invigor Medical, says this is because properly fitting masks are the only ones that effectively stop large droplets that could spread and infect someone. Furthermore, masks that don’t fit properly require the wearer to frequently touch their face and masks to readjust, and “touching your face can cause you to become infected and it also increases the spread of germs when you touch other objects after touching your mask,” Poston explains.

Slide 3 of 7: Plastic and leather are two materials the CDC wants mask wearers to steer away from because they are hard to breathe through."If a mask is hard to breathe through, you will breathe around it which defeats the purpose of a mask. When you cough or sneeze, the droplets will travel around the mask or drip down from the bottom surface of the mask," Poston says. And if your plastic or leather mask is too tight to breathe around, then it will not filter your breath, but instead block airflow, which may harm your breathing. And for coronavirus symptoms to be aware of, learn The Earliest Signs You Have COVID, According to Johns Hopkins.

2. Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through

Plastic and leather are two materials the CDC wants mask wearers to steer away from because they are hard to breathe through.

“If a mask is hard to breathe through, you will breathe around it which defeats the purpose of a mask. When you cough or sneeze, the droplets will travel around the mask or drip down from the bottom surface of the mask,” Poston says. And if your plastic or leather mask is too tight to breathe around, then it will not filter your breath, but instead block airflow, which may harm your breathing.

Slide 4 of 7: If your mask lets light pass through when held up to a light source, then the CDC says it shouldn't be used. Just like masks that do not fit, masks with loosely woven or knit material will allow respiratory droplets to pass through and infect the wearer, says Daniel Burnett, MD, chief executive officer for JustAir, a face mask and clear air systems company.Even worse, Burnett says, loose mesh can "break the respiratory droplets into smaller droplets that can stay airborne for a longer period of time," which may provide a longer exposure period. And for coronavirus signs you shouldn't ignore, This Is One of the Most "Easily Overlooked" COVID Symptoms, Experts Warn.

3. Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knit

If your mask lets light pass through when held up to a light source, then the CDC says it shouldn’t be used. Just like masks that do not fit, masks with loosely woven or knit material will allow respiratory droplets to pass through and infect the wearer, says Daniel Burnett, MD, chief executive officer for JustAir, a face mask and clear air systems company.

Even worse, Burnett says, loose mesh can “break the respiratory droplets into smaller droplets that can stay airborne for a longer period of time,” which may provide a longer exposure period. 

Slide 5 of 7: The CDC says your mask should have at least two or three layers. Abisola Olulade, MD, a family medicine physician with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in California, says this is because they are more likely to filter out particles than masks with only one layer. Olulade says your mask should ideally have three layers: an innermost layer made of water-absorbing material, a middle filter layer, and then an outer layer that is made of water-resistant material. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4. Masks with one layer

The CDC says your mask should have at least two or three layers. Abisola Olulade, MD, a family medicine physician with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in California, says this is because they are more likely to filter out particles than masks with only one layer. Olulade says your mask should ideally have three layers: an innermost layer made of water-absorbing material, a middle filter layer, and then an outer layer that is made of water-resistant material. 

Slide 6 of 7: The CDC does not recommend masks with valves or vents because, while they may make it easier to breathe, they don't help stop the spread of COVID. Roopa Kalyanaraman Marcello, MPH, an infectious disease expert based in New York City, says these masks allow respiratory droplets to escape from the wearer, which can infect other people. In fact, some cities, counties, and most major U.S. airlines have banned these face masks. And for precautions you no longer need to take, discover The One Thing You Can Stop Doing to Avoid COVID, According to Doctors.

5. Masks with exhalation valves or vents

The CDC does not recommend masks with valves or vents because, while they may make it easier to breathe, they don’t help stop the spread of COVID. Roopa Kalyanaraman Marcello, MPH, an infectious disease expert based in New York City, says these masks allow respiratory droplets to escape from the wearer, which can infect other people. In fact, some cities, counties, and most major U.S. airlines have banned these face masks. 

Slide 7 of 7: "Scarves and other headwear such as ski masks and balaclavas used for warmth are usually made of loosely knit fabrics that are not suitable for use as masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission," says the CDC. According to Poston, these have the same drawbacks as an improperly fitting mask in that they don't really filter droplets and they most likely need frequent readjustment. However, you can wear these items over your mask—you just need to be wearing some type of protective mask also. And for more essential mask guidance, The FDA Issued a Warning Against This Kind of Face Mask.

6. Masks that are actually a scarf or ski mask

“Scarves and other headwear such as ski masks and balaclavas used for warmth are usually made of loosely knit fabrics that are not suitable for use as masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission,” says the CDC. According to Poston, these have the same drawbacks as an improperly fitting mask in that they don’t really filter droplets and they most likely need frequent readjustment. However, you can wear these items over your mask—you just need to be wearing some type of protective mask also.

Photo credit: BestLife

Source: The CDC Warns Against Using These 6 Face Masks (msn.com)

Committing to a Low-Carb Diet Helped Me Lose Almost 100 Pounds

Growing up, I was always a little heavier than most. Over time I went from being a little heavier to a lot heavier. It definitely crept up slowly. Nobody wakes up one day astonished to find they turned obese over night. It’s a pound-by-pound change.

I did a lot of mindless eating, just not paying attention. I could eat a whole bag of chips before I even knew what happened. Eventually you get to the end of the bad and you say to yourself “damn.”

I had a lot of back and knee pain at the time, but mostly I felt helpless. I just felt like, no matter what I did, I was always going to be fat. At my heaviest, around my 27th birthday, I weighed 278 pounds.

Being diagnosed with sleep apnea was a big moment. Being told you’re so fat that sleeping, literally on its own, could kill you is a real shock. Living in the Tampa Bay area, I’m close to a lot of great beaches, but I never wanted to go out of fear of taking my shirt off in public. As I approached 30 years old I was tired of feeling that way.

a man standing in front of a store: alex cobb before and after his weight loss transformation
© Alex Cobb alex cobb before and after his weight loss transformation

For me, carb reduction was what worked. I began on the paleo diet; in the years I’ve been on a low-carb diet, I’ve worked out maybe 15 times. I think cardio and weight training is beneficial, but weight loss happens in the kitchen. I cut out all of the bread, chips, cookies, sodas, and beer and replaced them with steaks, green vegetables, and water.

“Working out” is still something I need to get in a better habit of. I know that working out has lots of benefits that I can’t get anywhere else, but I’ve never really been that motivated to stay consistent with it. My weight loss has been accomplished almost solely through changing what I eat.

I’ve been on a low-carb diet going on four years. In that time I’ve lost 95 total pounds. Along the way I’ve gained a few back here and there, but that’s the way it goes. Weight loss does not always happen in a straight line. The feeling, then compared to now, is night and day. I have more energy, I sleep better, I have more self confidence, I enjoy things (like the beach) that I never did before. There’s also a strong feeling of accomplishment that comes from setting a series of goals and meeting them.

I’ve had a tremendous amount of support from friends and family. When someone who has only ever known you as fat tells you they’re proud of you, that’s a big moment. Since setting out on losing weight I’ve started a new career, moved a few times, and married my soulmate. These latter developments were not a result of losing weight, specifically, but a result of the same thinking that pushed me down the path of losing weight. I wanted to improve my life, across the board, weight loss was a piece of that puzzle.

It might sound cliche, but it’s so true: It’s never too late to start and you don’t have to be perfect. That’s true with anything, most of all with losing weight. Just get started. Figure out the rest along the way. —As told to Jesse Hicks

Written by Alex Cobb for MensHealth©

Source: Committing to a Low-Carb Diet Helped Me Lose Almost 100 Pounds (msn.com)

How quickly does the COVID vaccine give you immunity?

© Provided by RADIO.COM

At the beginning of the vaccine rollout phase, nursing home residents and health care workers were the first to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Since the first phase, some essential workers, like teachers and grocery store employees, and adults over 65 have also become eligible in certain locations.

As more Americans across the nation become eligible, there are still questions about how quickly the vaccine works.

Laurel Bristow, an infectious disease clinical researcher, told People vital information people should know before receiving their vaccine.

How does each vaccine work?

Bristow says that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are able to teach the body’s cells how to make a spike protein that will create an immune response to fight off COVID-19. Both vaccines require two doses.

Pfizer: Second dose is given three weeks after the first.

Moderna: Second dose is given four weeks after the first.

“Your first dose trains your immune system to respond to the spike protein,” Bristow said. “And then the second dose is the booster to make sure that it can mount a really strong immune response, if the virus is introduced to the body.”

How much protection does each dose provide?

After one dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, a person has around 50% immunity to the virus. However, the second dose brings it up to about 95%.

Is each dose immediately effective?

Not so fast. Bristow says the body needs to process the vaccine in order to build up the body’s immune response.

How long does it take for the COVID-19 vaccine to give you immunity?

“Your immune system starts to kick in, but to really get to the peak efficacy that we all know as 95 percent, it’s going to take two weeks after your second dose,” Bristow added.

Bristow elaborated that people who receive the Pfizer vaccine can expect to reach 95% immunity 5 weeks after their first injection, while those who receive Moderna will get to 95% immunity six weeks after their initial dose.

Can you still get COVID-19 after a first or second dose of the vaccine?

The answer is yes because the protection doesn’t happen right away.

“It’s going to take two doses in time to get to the 95 percent efficacy,” Bristow said. “And especially after the first dose, it’s not going to happen immediately that you are then protected from symptomatic COVID.”

Source: How quickly does the COVID vaccine give you immunity? (msn.com)

The 17 Best Longevity Tips Experts Taught Us in 2020

The 17 Best Longevity Tips Experts Taught Us in 2020
Photo: Getty Images

In recent years, the motivation for healthy habits like veggie-heavy diets and regular exercise has shifted from present-day benefits to those more long-term in nature. And we’re not just interested in extending our lifespan, but our health span, too—aka the length of time we are not only alive but alive and well. Most of us want to “die with our boots on,” as my grandfather would say—able in both mind and body.

As such, longevity research has become a major focus in the wellness world and this year, we learned quite a bit about how to optimize our daily lives now for the benefit of our future selves. Below, a rundown of the best tips we’ve accumulated in 2020 for living your healthiest life into your 80s and beyond—because there’s a lot to live well for… just ask President-Elect Joe Biden, who is 78!

Read on for the Best Longevity Tips from 2020

Exercise and movement

1. Exercise this many times per week

It’s no secret that human beings were designed to be a lot more active than most of us currently are in our modern-day, screen-heavy existences; however, you don’t need to give up hope of a long life if you’re pressed for tons of time to move each week. This year, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that those who engage in moderate or vigorous exercise 150 minutes per week had lower all-cause mortality.

That translates to just 22 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise per day. Those who got these 150 minutes per week showed a lower risk of early death from all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and cancer mortality.

Benefits were especially notable in those who tended toward the more rigorous side of the equation, opting for running, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routines, or something equally as taxing. The takeaway there is that if you are doing lower-impact exercises, it might help to throw a few more hardcore (think: quick and dirty) fitness routines into the mix as well. Not sure where to start?

2. This particular workout format packs the best longevity punch

Any exercise is better than none, so if there’s a format you love and that gets you moving, you should one hundred percent stick to it. But if you’re open to new things or are already a devotee, research this year shows that HIIT workouts are the most effective form of fitness from a longevity standpoint.

The study looked at the effects of two weekly HIIT workouts per week on 70 to 77 year-olds and found that all-cause mortality was 36 percent lower in that group than in the study’s control group (which did whatever kind of exercise they liked). Thirty-six percent!

The specific HIIT routine the study’s participants engaged in was the 4×4 format, which divides each workout into a 10-minute warm-up period followed by four high-intensity intervals. Each interval consists of one to two minutes of extreme exertion, at about 90 percent of maximum heart rate, followed by a three-minute period at about 60 percent of heart rate. The session then concludes with a cool down period.

3. If your workouts don’t include this one move, they probably should

Technically, research just shows that if you can do this one move easily, that in and of itself is a good indication of longevity: the squat. So while this doesn’t necessarily show that doing squats will increase your lifespan, it stands to reason that one way to ensure you can do them easily is to, well, do them—and frequently.

One of the reasons it’s such a good exercise—both to practice frequently and as a longevity predictor— is that it’s functional, meaning we sort of need to be able to execute squat-like movements regularly in everyday life when, for example, we move from sitting to standing. Plus, we sit too much, and therefore the parts of our bodies, e.g. the glutes, which squats activate do not get nearly the amount of work they were built to take on.

It’s critical, however—for knee health especially—that you squat with proper form; here’s how.

4. Cardio is not to be overlooked, either

It’s not always possible for everyone to engage in high-impact exercise like HIIT or running, but that doesn’t mean they’re screwed from a longevity perspective. In some cases, people might want to choose exercises that are gentler on their joints, which is not the same thing as being easy.

According to a cardiologist, there are five types of low-impact cardio that’ll work you out hard without irritating aging or injured parts of your body: swimming, walking, cycling, rowing, and elliptical.

5. Overall, your workout routines should include these 3 pillars

Ultimately, the best fitness routines are a mix of a number of different modalities, and exercising for longevity is no different. According to Aleksandra Stacha-Fleming, founder of NYC’s Longevity Lab, a gym that works with people of all ages to create workouts that help their bodies age properly, your regular workouts should typically include a smattering of the following: cardio, for your heart; strength-training, for your bones; and anything that works your flexibility and mobility, e.g. yoga.

Diet

1. Always keep these 6 foods on hand in your fridge

According to Dan Buettner, longevity expert and author of The Blue Zones Kitchen, the longest-living people in the world don’t obsess over or restrict what they eat; however, they naturally consume nutrient-dense foods as a way of life. The six such foods Buettner thinks you should stock up on ASAP to follow their lead are nuts, vegetables, fruit, tofu, fish, and alt-milk.

You might want to add a jar of canned hearts of palm to your shopping list the next time you’re try to stock your fridge, too. The ingredient is nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, and packed with minerals like potassium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Most importantly, it’s Blue Zones diet-approved, meaning it’s a longevity-booster, too.

2. Meanwhile, these 5 foods should go in your freezer 

Buettner also has thoughts on what should be found in your freezer if you hope to emulate the world’s centenarians. His top five picks include a lot of the same things you should simultaneously keep fresh in your fridge, like fruits and vegetables, and nuts fall into both categories, too. Additionally, Buettner recommends keeping bread (bless you, Buettner!) and whole grains on ice, too.

3. Pack these in your pantry 

Buettner even shared what he keeps in his own kitchen— specifically when it comes to his pantry. What you’ll find there includes staples such as beans, legumes, whole grains (specifically steel-cut oats and brown rice), nuts, and seeds. You should keep canned greens in your pantry, too.

4. Herbs and spices are oh-so-important, too

Excess inflammation is an enemy of healthy aging, and plants are packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. According to herbalist Rachelle Robinett, nutrient-dense herbs are, therefore, a great supplement for anyone looking to enhance the longevity benefits of their diet. Specifically, she recommends ginger, turmeric, spirulina, chili peppers, and ginseng.

4. This one-pot recipe is a longevity expert’s favorite go-to meal

Whatever Buettner, who’s made his life’s work longevity, is eating regularly, I’ll have, too. Fortunately, this year he shared his favorite go-to meal, which just so happens to be a one-pot Ikarian Longevity Stew packed with legumes and superstar veggies. Get the recipe here.

5. Overall, it’s this popular diet that wins the day with respect to longevity

You may have noticed a theme in the above tips, which is that they heavily emphasize fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains; however, the longest-living people in the world aren’t necessarily vegans. Instead, they adhere to the Mediterranean Diet, and recent research has strengthened the link between it and longevity.

The study found that the Mediterranean diet may be linked to lowering inflammation markers and increasing both brain function and gut health—and therefore improving the aging process overall.

Essentially, the Mediterranean diet does call for substantial amounts of those aforementioned fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts. It also adds olive oil as a key component alongside fish and encourages a reduction in the consumption of red meat and saturated fats.

6. To keep it simpler still, follow these golden rules of eating for longevity

If all of the above sounds like a lot, consider this; according to Buettner, there are golden consumption rules to follow if you want to live longer, and TBH, they’re not very restrictive. The first is to drink wine after 5 p.m., ideally with friends or loved ones and a meal. (Um, twist my arm!) The second is to eat mostly plant-based foods, which at this point feels a bit repetitive, so… duh. The third is to forget fad-diet brainwashing and carbo load to your heart’s desire, as long as your carbs of choice are derived from grains, greens, tubers, nuts, and beans. The fourth is to eat less meat, as mentioned prior, and the fifth is to stick to just three beverages—coffee, that aforementioned wine (okay, yes), and lots and lots of water.

Sleep

1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule 

The Dalai Lama might not be a longevity expert per se, but he is doing pretty well at the spritely age of 85. One of his top six tips for extending your lifespan is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. And even though he starts his day at 3 a.m., his 7 p.m. bedtime ensures he gets a solid eight hours of sleep per night.

Hobbies

1. Volunteer

One less-easy-to-imitate characteristic of those occupying the world’s Blue Zones is that they retain a sense of purpose throughout their lives. In America, we tend to put older people to pasture, so to speak, and they are less naturally integrated into family and community life, too.

One way to hack a sense of purpose in our (cold, heartless) society—not just when you’re older but at any age—is to volunteer. Research shows that helping other people can actually help you to live a longer life. “Our results show that volunteerism among older adults doesn’t just strengthen communities, but enriches our own lives by strengthening our bonds to others, helping us feel a sense of purpose and well-being, and protecting us from feelings of loneliness, depression, and hopelessness,” Eric S. Kim, PhD, research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release about the study.

2. Grow a green thumb

According to Buettner, people in the Blue Zones, or longest-living areas of the world, garden well into their 90s and beyond. “Gardening is the epitome of a Blue Zone activity because it’s sort of a nudge: You plant the seeds and you’re going to be nudged in the next three to four months to water it, weed it, harvest it,” he says. “And when you’re done, you’re going to eat an organic vegetable, which you presumably like because you planted it.”

3. Meditate

Not to state the obvious, but the Dalai Lama’s longevity routine also includes regular meditation. And while he practices for seven hours a day, research shows that just five minutes per day can reap benefits such as sharpening your mind, reducing stress and, importantly, slowing aging.

4. Practice compassion

The Dalai Lama considers compassion to be one of the keys to happiness, and science says it has pro-social benefits, too. These might help us live longer lives, as humans thrive in the communities many Americans find it more difficult to build than those living in the Blue Zones do. Showing concern, care, and empathy to others can endear you to them and ensure that when the shoe is on the other foot, you’ve got others to lean on, too. This reciprocal relationship gives you that aforementioned sense of longevity-endowing purpose, too.

Article by Erin Bunch

Source: The 17 Best Longevity Tips Experts Taught Us in 2020 | Well+Good (wellandgood.com)