Ever wonder what your cat does when you're not around? Find out by watching the first movie filmed entirely by cats!
Many people assume that "beauty sleep" is a myth used to convince children to go to sleep. But a new study suggests there may be something to it.
The study looked at the effect that sleep deprivation has on the way other people perceive your attractiveness. Study participants were asked to sit for photographs. The photos were identical, except for one thing -- some of the participants had had a full night's sleep the night before, while others had been awake for 31 hours straight.
According to Time Magazine:
"The photos were then shown to a group of 65 different people, who, knowing nothing about how tired the people in the photos were, rated their attractiveness. The observers rated the sleep-deprived as less healthy looking, less fetching and, obviously, more tired-looking."Sources:
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Taking the time each and every night to get your "beauty sleep" may in fact make you more attractive. And this isn't surprising when you consider that optimal health and beauty are side effects of an overall healthy lifestyle, which must include adequate, high-quality sleep.
How Much Does Lack of Sleep Impact Your Appearance?
A good night's sleep may be one of the best-kept beauty secrets out there.
This reality was recently proven by John Axelsson of the Karolinska Institute, who took identically staged photos of 23 people. All of the participants had natural hairstyles, relaxed facial expressions and no makeup. The lighting for the sessions were the same, as was the subject's distance from the camera.
The only difference was the amount of sleep the people had received the night before; one group got a full night's sleep, the other slept just five hours after being awake for 31 hours straight.
When the photos were shown to a separate group of people, wouldn't you know it . they rated the sleep-deprived group as less healthy, less attractive and more tired.
Chances are you have noticed this phenomenon yourself on more than a few occasions just by looking in the mirror. After a night of not enough or poor sleep you're likely to wake up with dark circles under your eyes, sallow skin and a general look of being worn out and unrested.
Sleep is Essential for Your Body to Function
It's no wonder that your appearance suffers when you lose sleep, as it's an indicator of what is going on within your body as well.
Everybody loses sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary shortcomings. But if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping too little, then you're increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Neurodegenerative diseases
Sleep deprivation also ages you. Lack of sleep interferes with metabolism and hormone production in a way that is similar to the effects of aging and the early stages of diabetes. Chronic sleep loss may speed the onset or increase the severity of age-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and memory loss.
Too little sleep can even wreak havoc on your weight. Losing sleep raises levels of two hormones linked with appetite and eating behavior. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin, a hormone that tells your brain you're satiated, and increases ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.
No doubt about it, a sleep deficit can have serious, far-reaching effects on your health - and bags under your eyes are the least of it. Other effects include:
- A single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
- Good sleepers and poor sleepers experience about the same number of daily minor stressful events, but good sleepers are less disturbed by them. Poor sleepers experience life events as being more negative than do those who sleep well.
- Sleep deprivation can cause changes in your brain activity similar to those experienced by people with psychiatric disorders.
- Sleep deprivation puts your body into a pre-diabetic state, and makes you feel hungry, even if you've already eaten.
- Interrupted sleep can dramatically weaken your immune system
- Tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or otherwise getting a restful night's sleep, be sure to read through my top 33 tips for optimal sleep.
Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
Your outward appearance typically reflects your health on the inside on both a physical and emotional level.
For instance, research shows that people who have been through the stress of a divorce look nearly two years older than their married, single or even widowed twin. Those who use antidepressants also appear significantly older. The researchers attributed this to the drugs causing continued relaxation of the facial muscles, which led to sagging, but it could also be that those taking antidepressants were under some type of psychological stress.
This is why releasing negative emotions with the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which balances your energy and improves your body and mind's stress response, can actually improve your outward beauty along with your emotional health.
Likewise, eating a largely unhealthy diet of processed foods causes an accumulation of free radicals, or cell-damaging substances, in your body. Naturally, this type of cellular damage is most visible on your face, in the form of wrinkles, bags, droopy eyelids and loss of skin elasticity and glow.
So along with getting your beauty sleep, one way to decrease the speed at which signs of your real age show up is by consuming large amounts of whole, unprocessed, healthy raw foods that are loaded with antioxidants. If you're still young, you will be less likely to develop wrinkles and other signs of age in the first place if you take a proactive, healthy approach now.
Another key to maintaining a youthful appearance and brighter, clearer skin is regular exercise. And, if you shift away from regular aerobics and use Peak 8 exercises instead, you will have a powerful way to naturally increase your growth hormone and radically reduce your aging rate. This will also be enormously beneficial in helping you sleep better. Just make sure you don't exercise right before you go to bed.
Interestingly, sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth hormone production, which is normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep and also during certain types of exercise, such as the Peak Fitness Technique. Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger.
So good food, regular exercise, stress relief and, of course, beauty sleep all go hand-in-hand when it comes to giving you that youthful healthy glow you're after.
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Lost Sleep Can Never Be Made Up
Domino's Pizza's domestic sales were falling last year. Then an organization called Dairy Management offered to help. They developed pizzas for Domino's that contained 40 percent more cheese, and then devised and paid for a $12-million marketing campaign.
But Dairy Management is not a private business -- it is a creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA helps helm a government anti-obesity program that discourages some of the very foods that Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.
The New York Times reports:
"... [I]n a series of confidential agreements approved by agriculture secretaries in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Dairy Management has worked with restaurants to expand their menus with cheese-laden products."Sources:
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
You're likely familiar with the "Got Milk" advertising campaign that encourages you to drink more milk for its array of health benefits. Perhaps you also saw the ads a few years back stating that eating more dairy could help you lose weight.
Both of these marketing campaigns were created by a nonprofit corporation called Dairy Management -- an organization that not only employs 162 highly skilled product developers and marketers but also is largely funded by the U.S. government.
As the New York Times reported, Dairy Management's $140-million annual budget comes in large part from a government-mandated fee on the dairy industry along with several million a year from the Agriculture Department.
But this government-funded organization is not simply interested in getting the word out about the potential health benefits of dairy . they primarily appear to be interested in doing whatever it takes to sell more dairy, including using up the surplus of whole milk and milk fat that exists since many Americans have switched to low-fat products.
Their solution? Team up with fast-food giants to sell more cheese.
The U.S. Government is Working Alongside Domino's, Pizza Hut and Other Fast-Food Giants
Dairy Management, which also includes the National Dairy Council, has been aggressively marketing cheese to restaurant chains in efforts to increase sales. Most recently, they took part in a $12-million marketing effort for Domino's latest pizza creation, the Wisconsin, which has six cheeses on the pie and two in the crust.
Dairy Management not only generated and tested new pizza concepts for Domino's, they've provided banners and special lighting at fast-food drive-throughs geared at promoting more cheese consumption.
They've also held development meetings with Pizza Hut and were instrumental in developing the chain's 2002 "Summer of Cheese" promotion that sold an additional 102 million pounds of cheese.
As the Times reported, Dairy Management has also been involved in the development of:
- Pizza Hut's Cheesy Bites pizza
- Wendy's dual Double Melt sandwich concept
- Burger King's Cheesy Angus Bacon cheeseburger and TenderCrisp chicken sandwich (both of which contained three slices of cheese plus a "cheesy sauce")
Dairy Management even works with grocery store chains to advise grocers how to arrange their dairy aisles for optimum sales.
What are Dairy Management employees getting in return for acting as champions for the dairy industry? At least in the executive arm, they're very well compensated . the organization's chief executive earned over $633,000 in 2008 while other top officials earned more than $300,000 each.
Advertising Campaigns Continued Despite Flimsy Research
The dairy industry has been heavily advertising the weight loss benefits of drinking more milk for years . but the study upon which this claim was based was not supported by additional research.
In fact, Dairy Management actually paid another researcher to look into the effects of dairy consumption on weight, but when her study failed to produce any such evidence they threatened to audit her work and then proceeded with their advertising campaign anyway.
Years went by before the Federal Trade Commission put an end to the campaign until additional research could be conducted. But not to worry . Dairy Management has other tricks up their sleeve to keep dairy consumption up.
As the New York Times reported:
"Meanwhile, Dairy Management, which allotted $12.4 million for nutrition research in 2008, has moved on to finance studies on promising opportunities, including the promotion of chocolate milk as a sports recovery drink and the use of cheese to entice children into eating healthy foods like string beans."
Do You See a Connection?
The U.S. government is clearly in cahoots with the commercial dairy industry . even going so far as to fund marketing campaigns for fast-food restaurants to increase sales.
Folks, this is likely one of the major reasons behind all the raids on the raw milk farms recently -- they are viewed as a threat to the commercial dairy industry.
The FDA and CDC have been aggressively raiding raw milk dairies in their efforts to crack down on raw milk production. This is done under the pretense of public health safety -- but the truth remains that not only is raw milk a health-promoting food, it is oftentimes safer and many times healthier than the pasteurized varieties both state and federal governments are rallying behind.
It is very apparent that the regulatory agencies have put blinders on to these statistics as they carry on with their ruthless crusade to ban raw milk and make it illegal for you to drink -- all while dedicating millions to boosting commercial dairy sales, even in the form of fast-food!
Because they are looking out for the interests of Big Dairy produced in factory farms.
Raw milk has been gaining popularity for years now. The conventional dairy industry, realizing this, has redoubled their efforts to make sure that raw milk sales are not able to grow, and certainly not able to become mainstream, where they could begin to threaten their very own livelihoods.
If raw dairy really caught on, you would think that the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. But this would be virtually impossible.
A factory farm cannot compete with a small organic, free-range farm because their entire business depends on the milk being pasteurized. They simply cannot afford to reproduce the conditions required to produce safe raw milk, such as allowing all the cows to pasture and graze on grass, for starters.
So, since big business can't produce what consumers want, they're simply seeking to eliminate the raw milk market altogether. This is why Big Dairy's powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force -- and agencies like Dairy Management will continue their brash crusade to push pasteurized, processed cheeses and milk upon the American public.
If You Want Truly Healthy Dairy, Choose Raw
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk can carry disease-causing bacteria, what they completely overlook is the fact that these bacteria are the result of industrial farming practices that lead to diseased animals, which may then in turn produce contaminated milk.
They make no distinction whatsoever between disease-riddled factory farmed milk that commercial dairy operations produce and the milk from clean, healthy, grass-fed cows. The former MUST be pasteurized in order to be safe for consumption. The latter does not.
Further, not only does raw milk contain good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system, raw milk also offers protection against disease-causing bacteria!
Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw dairy in the United States, performed the following test: He inoculated pathogenic contaminants such as E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella into his raw milk, and into pasteurized milk.
In the raw milk, none of the pathogens survived because the natural bacteria were able to protect the milk. In the pasteurized milk, however -- in which the bacteria and enzymes have been destroyed -- the pathogens were able to take over.
To think that pasteurized milk is safer (even if you don't believe it's healthier) than raw milk from a healthy, grass-fed cow is simply not true.
Raw milk also contains vitamins, which are virtually eliminated by the pasteurization process of commercial milk. But it's the presence of beneficial bacteria that make raw milk such an outstanding food source to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine, which in turn has a significant, beneficial impact on your overall immune function.
Other health-promoting ingredients in raw milk include:
- Valuable enzymes that are destroyed during pasteurization. This includes phosphatase, an enzyme that aids and assists in the absorption of calcium in your bones, and lipase enzyme, which helps to hydrolyze and absorb fats.
- Natural butterfat, which is homogenized or removed in pasteurized milk. Without butterfat, it becomes very difficult for your body to absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Butterfat is also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Healthy unoxidized cholesterol
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which fights cancer and may help reduce your body fat.
- High omega-3 and low omega-6 ratios, which is the beneficial ratio between these two essential fats
So if you enjoy dairy products, do your health a favor and choose raw milk and raw milk cheese over the commercial varieties that are so heavily advertised. By joining the fight to make access to healthy raw milk a right for all Americans, you are not only standing up for raw milk; you're taking a stand to protect your freedom of food choice.
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Sometimes, advances don't come from looking ahead, but from looking back.
When the Mother and Child Institute in Bogota, Colombia, found itself short on doctors, nurses, and incubators, Dr. Edgar Rey decided to try something new -- or rather, something old.
What he came up with is known as "kangaroo care." In this system, the mother of a premature infant puts the baby on her exposed chest.
The baby is dressed only in a diaper and sometimes a cap, is kept in an upright or semi-upright position, and has all but its head covered by its mother's shirt.
The baby's temperature is regulated by the sympathetic biological responses that occur when a mother and infant are in close physical contact -- the mother's breasts actually heat up or cool down.
According to the New York Times:
In related news, the FDA has issued a warning against breast milk sharing -- breast milk obtained, often over the Internet, from mothers who have a surplus.
"Kangaroo care has been widely studied. A trial in a Bogota hospital of 746 low birth weight babies randomly assigned to either kangaroo or conventional incubator care found that the kangaroo babies had shorter hospital stays, better growth of head circumference and fewer severe infections ...
A conservative summary of the evidence to date is that kangaroo care is at least as good as conventional treatment -- and perhaps better."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Kangaroo care is a somewhat new name for a very old tradition, one that has been followed instinctively by women across the globe since the beginning of time. Namely, it refers to holding a newborn, including those born prematurely, close to its mother's bare chest, like a kangaroo holds its joey in its pouch.
Although it's been used for centuries, the modern-day method is credited to Dr. Edgar Rey, the chief of the pediatrics department at the Mother and Child Institute in Bogota, Colombia, who began using kangaroo care in the 1970s because of a shortage of incubators.
Since then, such skin-to-skin contact has proven to be incredibly beneficial for newborns, so much so that in hospitals where incubators are in short supply using kangaroo care has increased low birth weight babies' survival rates from 10 percent to 50 percent, and larger babies' survival rates from 70 percent to 90 percent.
The Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact for Newborns
Quite simply, skin-to-skin contact is probably one of the most important steps you can take to give your baby a healthy start right after birth. Just take a few minutes to watch the video below and you'll see that skin-to-skin contact can actually make the difference between life and death.
When a mother holds her newborn against her bare skin:
- The baby's temperature is regulated by the close contact -- in fact, a woman's breasts will change in temperature depending on whether the baby needs more or less warmth.
- The mother's breathing and heartbeat helps the baby's heart and respiratory rates to stabilize.
- The mother produces more milk and the baby breastfeeds earlier, gaining more weight.
- Emotional bonding is encouraged.
Babies who receive kangaroo care also show:
- Gains in sleep time
- Decreased crying
- More successful breastfeeding
- Improved oxygen saturation levels
- More regular breathing patterns
- More rapid weight gain
- Earlier hospital discharge
As the New York Times reported, in one trial of nearly 750 low birth weight babies, those who received kangaroo care had shorter hospital stays, better growth of head circumference and fewer severe infections than babies placed in incubators.
A separate study also revealed that when mothers initiated skin-to-skin contact with their newborns 15 to 20 minutes after birth, the infants slept longer and more peacefully, using positions that indicated less stress.
After the contact ended, the effects of the skin-to-skin contact seemed to continue even four hours later, as the babies displayed less stressful body movements after spending several hours in the nursery.
The researchers suggested that the most dangerous and stressful events that occur during the human life cycle take place during the transition from the womb to the real world, therefore mothers who made a point of giving their infants skin-to-skin contact would help their newborn adjust to their new unfamiliar surroundings.
Kangaroo Care Encourages Breastfeeding
Outside of the temperature and breathing regulation, as well as the emotional benefits, one of the best reasons to use kangaroo care is that it increases the likelihood of successful breastfeeding.
This is important as breastfeeding offers your child lifelong health benefits, not only cutting their risk of SIDS in half, but also providing added protection against:
- Heart disease
- Bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease
- Asthma, allergies, and respiratory infections
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Moms who use kangaroo care have increased milk supply and their babies have an easier time nursing, so it's a simple way to encourage a positive, successful breastfeeding experience.
If Your Hospital Doesn't Suggest Kangaroo Care, Ask for It
Or rather, demand it. Many U.S. hospitals are now using some form of kangaroo care, even in their NICUs, but it is far from a standard of care. As a new parent, be sure you make it clear that you want to spend as much time as possible engaging in skin-to-skin contact with your newborn, including, and especially, if your baby is born premature.
Whether you are giving birth in a hospital or at home, let your obstetrician or midwife, as well as the nursing staff, know that you want the baby placed on your chest immediately after delivery. And for those who are wondering, dads can take part in kangaroo care, too.
The process is actually incredibly simple. Place the baby, wearing only a diaper and if you like a hat, on your bare chest. Then cover the baby with a blanket or gown, and enjoy the bonding time together.
And that's all there is to it. A simple and instinctive practice that will give both you and baby a warm, secure start to your new life together.
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It's natural to feel nervous when you forget something, knowing that Alzheimer's disease now affects 5.3 million Americans. But a memory slip doesn't always mean the worst. According to KPHO, the following five situations point toward normal, age-related memory loss.
- Lapses Don't Interfere With Everyday Life
Slowed recall of information from time to time is normal -- erverybody forgets stuff. What's not normal is when memory impairment interferes with your ability to get through the day.
- You See an Improvement After 'Brain Training'
Dementia is not a problem of retrieving old memories so much as it is is an inability to form new ones. If you can still learn new things, you're still forming new memories.
- You've Just Started A New Medication
Drug side effects are one of the more common causes of memory trouble.
- Nobody Else Seems To Notice Anything's Amiss
Usually, there's a lot of family friction around the kind of memory loss that predates a diagnosis -- arguments over who neglected to do something, missed appointments, or forgotten messages.
- You're Forgetful When Stressed, Sleep Deprived or Multitasking
A stressed brain is not the same thing as a demented brain.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
So-called "senior moments" happen to all of us . even those who are far from reaching their golden years. You forget where you parked your car, misplace your keys, forget the name of someone you met last week -- all of these scenarios are part of life, and they're completely normal.
That said, your brain should not feel foggy all the time, nor should you be experiencing episodes of forgetfulness that are so severe they interfere with your ability to function normally.
I've often said that memory loss is not at all a "normal part of aging," and if you're feeling like your mind is truly slipping, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Brain Fart vs. Memory Loss: When is it Serious?
Brain farts, or as neuroscientists call them "maladaptive brain activity changes," are those "oops" moments when you make a really obvious mistake.
These occur because your brain perceives many of your daily tasks as patterns, and may revert to its default mode network (DMN), the part of your brain responsible for your inward-focused thinking, such as daydreaming, during this time.
This can be a problem as the DMN competes, in a sense, with other areas of your brain for resources, and in order for you to carry out a task that requires focused attention, your brain must inhibit the DMN.
So if your brain takes a "time out" during a task that requires your full attention, a brain fart is likely to occur. In just the blink of an eye, you miss your exit driving home from work, send an important email to the wrong person or forget what you went into the next room to grab.
Fortunately, DMN blips are typically short-lived, and once you realize you've made an error your brain will likely kick into overdrive to try and correct the mistake.
On the other hand, changes in your memory function could be a sign that your brain is on a gradual decline -- and it's time for you to take action to protect and restore your cognitive function.
New Research Shows Mild Memory Loss is Not Normal
While occasional slip-ups and forgetfulness are normal, mild memory loss is not.
Brain lesions have been associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease for some time, but in a new study, researchers were surprised to discover that even very mild memory loss appears to be linked to the presence of the same type of damage seen in more serious cases of cognitive decline.
They concluded that even very mild changes in your cognitive function -- once thought to be a "normal" sign of aging -- is actually one of the first signs of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
So what does this mean? If you notice that your mind is not as sharp as it used to be, don't ignore it -- take action to help reverse, or at least minimize, further damage.
6 Top Steps to Protect Your Brain Function
Your brain is actually a very moldable organ that can even rewire itself if given the proper tools. In fact, humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity.
So one of the simplest methods to boost your brain function is to keep on learning. The size and structure of neurons and the connections between them actually change as you learn.
This can take on many forms above and beyond book learning to include activities like traveling, mind-training activities, learning to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language, or participating in social and community activities.
Next, you will want to be sure your lifestyle is conducive to a healthy brain, which includes:
- Eating Right
Studies have shown that elderly individuals who consume a healthy diet are less likely to suffer symptoms of dementia as they age.
Avoiding sugars and grains, and being mindful of eating foods that do not cause major spikes in your glucose levels, is very important if you want to optimize your health and maintain optimal brain function, regardless of your age.
In fact, insulin resistance and diabetes significantly increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's, which is why the dietary strategies that protect your brain are very similar to those for avoiding diabetes.
Regular exercise promotes essential cell and tissue repair mechanisms, including growth of new brain cells. In essence, exercise encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing your nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.
Previous research has also shown that a regular exercise program can slow the development of Alzheimer's disease by altering the way damaging proteins reside in your brain. So be sure you are taking part in an effective and comprehensive exercise regimen, like my Peak Fitness program.
- Omega-3 Fats
One of the most essential nutrients for your brain are omega-3 fats. A number of studies have shown that omega-3s can offer protection against cognitive deterioration.
- Reducing inflammation in your brain
- Limiting the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease
- Influencing membrane functioning
- Regenerating nerve cells
Unfortunately, the ideal source of omega-3 -- fish -- is typically not a safe source anymore, as most fish are now severely contaminated.
This is why I recommend getting your omega-3 from a high-quality krill oil instead. In addition to being more absorbable than fish oil, it's also loaded with beneficial antioxidants and is clearly the most sustainable source of animal-based omega-3 on the planet.
It's during sleep that your mental energy is restored, and a lack of sleep may cause your brain to stop producing new cells. So read my Guide to a Good Night's Sleep to get your sleep schedule on track.
- Vitamin D
Optimizing your vitamin D levels through safe sun exposure, a safe tanning bed and/or vitamin D supplements is a must. Vitamin D plays a very important role in brain development and function, so get tested regularly to make sure you maintain healthy levels year-round.
- Coconut Oil
Brain starvation is the hallmark of Alzheimer's and recent studies have shown quite phenomenal improvement with using coconut oil. While there are no studies indicating it works specifically for memory loss, based on this study and all the other benefits of coconut oil it would seem prudent to use it.
So remember, a minor "brain fart" is nothing to worry about, but if you really want to keep your mind sharp as a tack, you can ensure it'll stay that way by implementing the healthy brain strategies listed above.
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