New Study Looks at Correlations Between Poor Sleep and Migraines

According to a new study people who experience migraines might get less of the REM sleep stage which is crucial for thinking and memory. REM, rapid eye movement, portion of sleep is a very important part of the sleep cycle which includes more dreaming, bodily movement and faster heart rate and breathing.

The new meta-analysis of 32 studies found that children and adults who experience migraines were more likely than others without migraines to both objectively and subjectively to experience lower quality sleep.

The research in the 32 studies comes from experts wondering whether migraines cause poor sleep quality or if lower quality sleep leads to migraines. The correlation between sleep and migraines has been difficult to study as changes in sleep can also be a trigger for migraines, a result of migraine treatment or even a symptom of the migraine itself.

Study authors wrote that even though about 1 billion people suffer from migraines around the world and that it is a leading cause of disability not many conclusions have been drawn about migraine patients think about their sleep quality and whether or not research data reflects the patients’ experience.

Neurology published the findings.





What Should We Know About the Simple Exercise of Walking?

Walking. Such a simple thing that many of don’t give much serious thought to for days, weeks or even longer. However, many experts agree that walking is probably the most underrated form of exercise that benefits both our physical and mental health.

The number of studies that speak to both specific and general benefits could not easily be counted.

So, what should we know about walking?

Harvard Medical School put out a special report called “Walking for Health” that states simply walking may do more to combat health conditions and fight diseases than any thing else. As an example, walking 22 minutes a day (or two and a half hours a week) could reduce your risk of heart disease by 30%–yes, by nearly a third.

In the journal Neurology, a 2010 study suggests that there is a link between greater amounts of gray matter in the brain and walking. Further research from a University of Virginia study showed that simply walking decreased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia in elderly men.

Other benefits include the reduction of anxiety and stress and enhances our moods, and all it takes is a few minutes of walking. Many studies of shown that walking in nature is additionally beneficial.

Walking strengthens our muscles as well as our bones and joints. One’s legs and abdominal muscles get a workout and if you are conscious to move your arms or use trekking poles your arms do to. As it is a weight-bearing activity it is good for the bones. Walking also brings oxygen and nutrients into your joint cartilage which is of extra benefit as it has no direct blood supply.

So, the next time you are feeling too mentally or physical exhausted to exercise, consider taking a short walk. The benefits may surprise you!


Massive New Study Finds Workplaces Can Help Employees Make Better Food Choices

As many of us go back to work in person it may become harder to avoid those sugary, fatty foods that are easier to escue at home.

Office lunchrooms have snack tables filled with treats from friendly coworkers, not to mention the vending machines filled with highly processed junk foods.  Even workplaces with cafes often offer things like burgers and pizza among healthier options.

What happens when an employer offers less unhealthy options and smaller portion sizes? A new study looked at just that scenario.

The new randomized trial found that when employers do this their workers pick foods and beverages with fewer calories.

The study suggests that making fairly simple changes to menus in workplaces and other cafeterias could make a significant impact on the world’s obesity problem.

In a massive study, the University of Cambridge collected data from 19 workplace cafes that changed the both the type and amounts of foods they sold to 20,000 manual laborers over a six-month time period.

Changes included replacing things like cheeseburgers with something like a grilled chicken sandwich. When higher calorie items were left on menus, cafes reduced the portion size by 14%. For example, they might serve fewer fries in a high calorie meal.

These changes equated to about 12% less calories sold to employees and employees saving about 50 calories a day.







Study On How Family Meals Changed During Pandemic Reveals Parent’s Thoughts on Fast Food

Whether it be a positive or negative change, how and what families eat has been affected by the pandemic.

A study from the University of Michigan that surveyed 2,000 parents with at least one child between 3 and 18 years old found that about 50% of parents reported their family ate home-cooked meals more often during the pandemic while 20% said their family at more fast food during the pandemic.

Kids who consumed fast food at least twice weekly were more common in low-income families (less than $50,000 annually). Parents with lower incomes were more likely to have stated they thought their child or children were overweight than those with higher incomes (more than $100,000 yearly).

Many experts believe that the data available demonstrates that consuming fast food on a regular basis predisposes kids to gain unwanted weight.

According to the study, most parents agreed that fast food was more expensive than cooking at home and less healthy for their children. Furthermore, they mostly agreed that fast food was not a good value for the money. Despite this, 72% of parents agree that when time is an issue fast food is a good option for their family. 82% of parents reported that they thought fast food was fine in moderation.

Most parents agreed that fast food is unhealthy for their children, more expensive than making meals at home and not good value for the money spent. Still, 72% of parents thought that when pressed for time, fast food is a good family option, and 84% thought fast food was fine in moderation.

Study authors stated that they message they are receiving from parents via the data that cooking at home is time-consuming and complicated and that heavily processed (fast) food is the solution. Study authors also noted that as humans are creatures of habit, the more often we order take out or fast food the more uncomfortable and difficult to get out a pot to boil water for a simple dish of pasta and veggies.




When is Stress a Sign of Something More?

While stress is a normal and everyday experience for most people too much stress could be a sign of a deeper mental health issue.

It is a normal human response to any strain, emotional of physical, on the person.

Experts even agree that acute stress (that which arises during a specific moment for a short amount of time) can be helpful in navigating the situation. Physical symptoms include increased heart rate in the moment.

Chronic stress occurs after the body’s system is triggered repeatedly.

Stress isn’t bad but sustained chronic stress (stress experienced for long periods of time after the situation is over) can be mentally and physically damaging.

It can be hard to tell when stress is becoming something more—like anxiety or depression. If the worry is intrusive after the stressor is over that could be anxiety. If one can’t move beyond sadness is a continuous mood and one can’t move beyond the situation that could be depression.

However, if one is able to resolve their negative emotions soon after the incident that caused the stress, it is probably just that, stress. Discussing one’s extended stress with their physician or a licensed mental health professional is the best way to determine if one has an issue beyond everyday stress.