Living a Longer Life with Sleep

Tips to sleep better.

Earlier, we presented two posts about sleep. Getting a Better Night’s Sleep. And Are YOU Sleeping Well Enough. Now, we look at an infographic about living a longer life with sleep.

A Bestow Team Infographic on Living a Longer Life with Sleep

Thank you to John Shieldsmith of Siege Media for guest authoring today’s post. And to the Bestow Team for the infographic.

When was the last time you had a whole week filled with great sleep? While the occasional night of poor sleep won’t hurt you in the long run, failure to sleep the recommended seven to eight hours every night can do a number on your body. 

So, why are one in three adults still not getting the proper amount of sleep? Many will say they’re too busy or that the late hours of the night are the only time they can get any leisure in. This mindset is only hurting you in the long run, so, let’s fix it. 

The Perks of Sleep

Here are a few of the more powerful perks of sleep. 

    • Sleep curbs weight gain: When you’re up all night, you can snack on up to an entire meal’s worth of calories. 
    • Sleep helps you heal: The U.S. Army did a study and found that when two nutritionally-similar people were physically injured, those with a full night’s rest actually healed more quickly than those without.
    • Sleep makes it easier to learn: When your brain is rested, you have an easier time storing new memories. This translates into an easier time learning new things. This can also help with your memory in general, meaning you can hold onto those precious moments for even longer if you let your brain get the sleep it needs. 

These perks only scratch the surface. Beyond this, sleep can help with personality disorders, make you less prone to engage in risky behavior, and more. In short: sleep’s great and we can all use it. So, how do you go about getting this precious sleep? 

Getting the Sleep You Need

It’s easy to say you’ll get a good night’s rest, but actually getting it is another matter entirely. Fortunately there are some changes you can make to your life that will get you on the right path as early as tonight. 

Bestow has created a visual on how sleep can extend your life. It includes tips on getting a higher quality sleep, too, so you can rest easy knowing your brain and body are getting the break they crave. 

Now, read on and go get some shut eye! 


 

Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer

Re: An article I wrote on my pancreatic cancer journey.

As noted several times on this blog, it has been quite a personal journey for me since learning in January 2015 that I had pancreatic cancer. And undergoing Whipple surgery in February 2015. I count my blessings every single day!! 🙂

Yesterday, it was my honor to be featured on the Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer page, an affiliate of the Lustgarten Foundation. Click on the photo of my terrific family to read the article.

And, if you are able, please donate to Team Joel. We are raising money for the October 2019 Lustgarten Foundation Walk. You can donate as little as a few dollars by filling in the amount on the team page. Thanks.

From the left: son-in-law Adam, daughter Stacey, wife Linda, me, daughter Jennifer, and son-in-law Phil.

Another Habit We Have to Relearn

Move around more!!

Did you know that too much sitting can be rather harmful? This observation is from someone (ME) who sits at a computer for hours at a time.

As Sharecare notes:

“Sitting may seem harmless, but it can shorten your life. In this Health Smarts video, Vonda Wright, MD, shares a simple anti-aging tip to boost your longevity: Spend more time standing and add more activity throughout your day.”


 

How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health?

More versus less info. Which is better?

Interesting topic, right: How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health? Especially regarding our future life expectancy. 

Recently, B.J. Miller and Shoshana Berger wrote a valuable op ed piece for the New York Times on “Don’t Tell Me When I’m Going to Die. Prognoses are more of an art than a science. Maybe it’s better not to know.”

Here are a few of their observations:

“Prognoses are based on the average experiences and life spans of patients who came before you. But any physician will tell you that coming up with one is more of an art than a science, and doctors are often wrong. Studies have long shown that physicians are particularly prone to overestimating life expectancy — especially when they like their patient.”

“Still, choosing not to know your prospects is surprising in this golden age of data. But the choice not to know can also be liberating. You can say, ‘No thanks, I opt out.’”

According to Miller and Berger:

“Steve Scheier, an expert in organizational decision making, devised a Prognosis Declaration. And it allows patients to choose among a few options. WHERE DO YOU FIT?

        • Tell me everything.
        • I’ve not decided what I want to know about my prognosis, so ask me over the course of my treatment.
        • I want to participate in my treatment, but I don’t want to receive any information on my prognosis.
        • I don’t wish to know any information about my prognosis but I authorize you to speak with [blank] about my case and for you to answer any questions that this person may have about my likely prognosis and treatment.
    • Click  the image to read more.
How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health?
Photo by Lucy Jones

 

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care

Fresh research to help us live longer.

Earlier this month, we posted about Be Careful with Supplements. Nonetheless, some supplements may be valuable in cancer care. One of them seems to be Vitamin D.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State found that:

“Vitamin D, if taken for at least three years, could help cancer patients live longer, say researchers. New findings suggest that the vitamin carries significant benefits other than just contributing to healthy bones. A paper on the work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.”

“‘Vitamin D had a significant effect on lowering the risk of death among those with cancer, but unfortunately it didn’t show any proof that it could protect against getting cancer,’ says Tarek Haykal, a lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident physician at Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.”

“Researchers looked at data related to disease prevention from more than 79,000 patients in multiple studies that randomly compared the use of vitamin D to a placebo over at least a three-year period. Haykal and his team zeroed in on any information that involved cancer incidence and mortality. ‘The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,’ Haykal says. While these findings show promise, Haykal cautions that the exact amount of the vitamin to take and what levels are needed in the blood are still unknown. He also says that it’s unclear how much longer vitamin D extends lifespan and why it has this result.”

Click on the image to read the full paper.

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care
 

Understanding Cognitive Aging

Further research on how we age.

Last week, we had a post on How Old Do YOU feel? “The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories.”

Let’s continue with that topic. In new research by Lee Ryan, et al., the authors discussed “Applying Precision Medicine to the Field of Cognitive Aging” in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience:

“The current ‘one size fits all’ approach to our cognitive aging population is not adequate to close the gap between cognitive health span and lifespan. In this review article, we present a novel model for understanding, preventing, and treating age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI) based on concepts borrowed from precision medicine. We will discuss how multiple risk factors can be classified into risk categories because of their interrelatedness in real life, the genetic variants that increase sensitivity to, or ameliorate, risk for ARCI, and the brain drivers or common mechanisms mediating brain aging. Rather than providing a definitive model of risk for ARCI and cognitive decline, the Precision Aging model is meant as a starting point to guide future research. To that end, after briefly discussing key risk categories, genetic risks, and brain drivers, we conclude with a discussion of steps that must be taken to move the field forward.”

Click the image to access the full article.

Understanding Cognitive Aging
 

How Old Do YOU feel?

To answer, think about the new age 65.

For me, this is really a two-part question. At age 70, I feel great both psychologically and mentally. I perceive myself as much younger than I am. On the other, how I feel physically is another story. The key for me is not to let my physical ailments overpower my psychological wellbeing. So, how old do YOU feel?

With the above in mind, consider the highlights of a very interesting article by Robert Roy Britt for Medium:

“By 2050, the percentage of the elderly is expected to double globally compared to today. As people live longer and an ever-higher percentage of the population is beyond their retirement years. This according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, conventional measures of longevity don’t reflect the quality of extended time on this Earth.”

“A new study looked at aging, health, and mortality by analyzing at what age people in a country actually feel like 65-year-olds, as defined by experiencing the health problems of the average 65-year old globally. The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories. The results are a window into both longevity and health status, revealing how well people age, or how poorly, the researchers report  in the journal Lancet Public Health.”

“The findings ‘show that increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of populations, depending on the aging-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age.’ said Dr. Angela Y. Chang, lead author of the study from the Center for Health Trends and Forecasts at the University of Washington.”

In this study, the United States did not fare so well. For the top 10 countries cited in the chart below, people were all in their mid-70s before feeling 65. The U.S. ranked 54 at 68.5. Certainly, that is food for thought.

How Old Do YOU feel?