We all want to live long, healthy lives; however, many of us make poor lifestyle choices that negatively impact our bodies and our brains. Although most of us think we can tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy behavior; some fascinating research suggests that some of the things we thought were good for us may actually be making us unhealthy.
Healthy exercise is critical to supporting good long-term health. That said, research suggests that too much can have a negative impact on our brains. A study out of the University of Toronto found that long-term rigorous exercise can actually promote a “significant” decline in cognitive skills. Presented at the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, the research showed that women who engaged in regular exercises, such as calisthenics, swimming and running, were at a much higher risk for developing memory problems as well as other mental limitations. On the other hand, they found that women who engaged in so-called moderate exercise experienced increased mental acuity.
Reading used to help people sleep; however, now it’s keeping people up at night. The Lighting Research Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently conducted a study which added to a growing body of evidence that exposure to blue light from e-Readers promotes insomnia by decreasing melatonin production.
Other studies have clearly shown that insufficient sleep is associated with deadly medical conditions, such as dementia, heart disease and cancer. Unfortunately, modern technology seems to be fueling widespread sleep deprivation in America; in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic, citing statistics that suggest nearly half the population suffers from insomnia.
According to author RJ Lawrence, who makes a living selling his novels at Amazon.com, even the best fiction books aren’t worth losing sleep over.
“Like most authors, I’m an avid reader who loves digital books,” he said. “Unfortunately, I think most of us are becoming aware that exposure to artificial light can lead to insomnia. Although I make a living off selling eBooks, I’d say it’s probably better for people to read traditional paperbacks near bedtime.”
According to Lawrence, he’s found that he sleeps better when he saves the best fiction books for daytime reading on his Kindle.
“At night, I like to read older classics in paperback form,” he said. “I’ve found these types of novels tend to relax my brain, while more modern books tend to get it revved up.”
While many of us have read recent stories involving deaths due to outrageously high caffeine consumption; these incidents are exceedingly rare. That said, because it interferes with sleep, caffeine is indirectly harming the health of millions of Americans by increasing their risk of future ailments. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that caffeine has a considerably long half-life, meaning it continues to remain in our systems up to 12 hours after consumption. Even if you think you’re sleeping well, your caffeine consumption may be making your sleep shallow, which could prevent you from enjoying enough restorative REM sleep.
- Fox News: Don’t let your e-Reader keep you up at night
- WebMD: Strenuous Exercise Linked to Memory Loss
Paul A. Achoa is the health and fitness expert atkingofhowto.com.