Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Sleep

The list sometimes seems endless: Drink eight glasses of water. Exercise 30 minutes. Eat seven fruits and vegetables. But if you only have enough bandwidth to tackle ONE habit, let it be sleep.

That's because shortchanging shut-eye risks damaging memory, learning, creativity, productivity, emotional stability and physical health. And did we mention you're more likely to gain weight?

Sleep is the key to being happier, healthier, thinner and smarter. And it’s not only free—it’s free of side effects!

 

Keep reading to learn more about the science behind sleep.

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 Are you a morning person? A night owl?

Your preferred sleep pattern is called your “chronotype,” and if you’re forcing yourself to live outside your natural circadian pattern—a night owl jarred awake early by an alarm clock, for example, or an early bird who stays up late working or partying—it’s not just a matter of feeling tired. You’re at risk for depression, poor memory, obesity and even some kinds of cancer. But the demands of work, school and society—and the convenience of artificial lighting—make it hard for many people to listen to their own body clocks.

Unless, that is, they live in Bad Kissingen, a small spa town on the southern edge of Germany’s Rhön Mountains. (Bad means “bath” in German.)

On Sunday, March 9, 2014,  we'll  “spring ahead” and return to daylight saving time. What's the best way to prepare for the year's worst Monday morning and recalibrate sleep cycles? 

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In the short essay below, sleep researcher Michael V. Vitiello, a University of Washington professor, shares advice and his perpsective on the time change. Prof. Vitiello serves as co-director of the Center for Research in the Management of Sleep Disturbance and editor-in-chief (for the Americas) of Sleep Medicine Reviews. He is a content specialist for Wellbody Academy

Originally proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, (although not adopted until World War I in an effort to save energy) daylight saving time is observed in most of North America and Europe. 

This means that the twice annual changing of clock time is again upon us and most of us will lose an hour of clock time as time “springs forward”, which means most of us will have one less hour of sleep when we awaken on Monday morning, March 10th.

“Without enough sleep, we all become tall 2-year-olds.” — JoJo JensenLeafClock

Time to reset our body clocks as we “fall back” and gain an hour of sleep early Sunday morning. This disruptive semi-annual time change, though not as annoying as when we lose an hour of sleep come spring, offers a chance to assess and tune-up sleep patterns for fall.

Why is healthy sleep hygiene so important? And how can we do better at getting the sleep we need? 

Think of the first few weeks of school as a chance to start, or reestablish, healthy routines when it comes to getting enough sleep, avoiding kid-to-kid illness, packing healthy school lunches and preventing backpack back aches.orangebackpack