Fit Minute | How Much Sleep Do You Need?

puppy and kittens sleeping togetherIs there a magic number of hours you should sleep? According to studies on sleep and mortality, insufficient sleep can shorten your life. Sleeping plays an important role in:

  • Healing and repairing blood vessels
  • Maintaining a healthy balance of hormones that control your appetite
  • Controlling blood glucose (sugar)
  • Repairing cells and tissues, thus boosting bone/muscle mass
  • Defending against foreign or harmful substances

You can experience the following immediate and long-term health effects when you don’t get enough sleep:

  • Diminished cognitive function
  • Increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which cause the following:
    1. Increased appetite / See video: Undersleeping and Overeating
    2. Increased body weight
    3. Increased belly fat / See video: Beer Belly Anatomy 101
    4. Increased risk for type 2 diabetes
    5. Increased chronic low-level inflammation which leads to chronic disease (such as, coronary artery disease, dementia, and stroke)
    6. Increased blood pressure

If Seven is Good, Is Eight Better?   

Many people believe that they need at least eight hours of sleep a night for good health. But a study* reveals that sleeping seven (7) hours per night had the best survival rates. In fact, mortality hazard significantly increased when sleeping:

  • ≥8 hrs. (When sleeping >8.5 hrs., health risk exceeded 15%.)
  • ≤6 hrs. (When sleeping <4.5 hrs., health risk exceeded 15%.)

Causes of death associated with sleep duration include:

  1. Heart disease
  2. ‘Other causes’
  3. Cancer
  4. Stroke (Deaths from stroke were highest in men and women who slept 8, 9, and ≥10 hrs.)
  5. Breast cancer
  6. Colon cancer

Bottom line: Those who reported they slept 6.5 to 7.4 hours had a lower mortality rate than those with shorter or longer sleep.

*Six-year study by American Cancer Society; 1.1 million men/women ages 30-50 to >70 years. Published JAMA Psychiatry article: Mortality Associated With Sleep Duration and Insomnia, 2002.

Soy Foods and Breast Cancer Survivors

New studies show soy is now good for breast cancer survivors

For years, there’s been confusing debate over whether breast cancer survivors should eat soy. However, a new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) found that women who ate the most soy food didn’t increase their risk of breast cancer recurrence, but reduced their risk.

Since soy foods contain large amounts of isoflavones, survivors had been advised against consuming them. Isoflavones are phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) that have both estrogen-like and anti-estrogenic effects.   Continue reading “Soy Foods and Breast Cancer Survivors”

Curing Your Acrylics – Is It Safe?


TV segment #0005H
UVA rays from nail dryers may cause cancer

Artificial nails have become increasingly popular and according to the U.S. Census Bureau figures, revenue for nail salons amounted to $1.6 billion in 2005. If you’re hooked on augmenting your natural nails, the next time you head off to the salon, you might want to bring along some sunscreen.

A University of Texas study published in the 2009 Archives of Dermatology found that two women who frequently used UV nail dryers developed skin cancer on the backs of their hands. These two healthy middle-aged women with no personalor family history of skin cancer developed non-melanoma (basal or squamous cell):   Continue reading “Curing Your Acrylics – Is It Safe?”

When the Going Gets Tough

Constipation relief is more about fitness than fiber

Constipation is not a subject that many of us like to talk about. But let’s face it, everyone gets constipated at one time or another and it can be pretty painful, uncomfortable, and frustrating. Here are some ways to help keep you moving!

1. Get some exercise. Your intestines are muscles too. When you work out, you’re doing more than just toning your muscles and strengthening your heart. Bowel movements occur when the muscles of your intestinal tract contract. When exercising aerobically, your heart and breathing rates increase which help your intestinal muscles contract. Well-toned intestinal muscles contract well and are able to move food through the tract efficiently and naturally.   Continue reading “When the Going Gets Tough”

Radiation Exposure “Antidote”

Radiation Exposure
Potassium iodide – an antidote for radiation exposure?

Nuclear plant explosions in Japan released massive columns of smoke into the air.  According to officials, 230,000 units of iodine have been distributed to evacuation centers near the nuclear power plants as a precaution. So, why is Japan distributing iodine tablets?

Thyroid Effects

After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, thousands of cases of thyroid cancer were reported in children and adolescents exposed to radiation. Following a radiological or nuclear event, escaping radioactive particulates consisting of radioactive iodine-131 can enter your body via contaminated air, food, or water (referred to as “internal contamination”).   Continue reading “Radiation Exposure “Antidote””