7 False Beliefs About Sleep and Health

Most people take for granted a bunch of facts concerning sleep and health. Unfortunately, some of of these prove to be false. You’ll be amazed at how uneducated we are about these topics!

Here’s a list of of the 7 sleep and health-related misconceptions that surprised me the most.

1. Waking up tired means you didn’t get enough sleep.

Although it’s possible that you didn’t sleep enough, what mainly dictates how refreshed you feel upon waking is where in your sleep cycle you wake up, not how long you slept. For example, even if you slept for more than 12 hours, you’ll clearly feel tired if you wake up in a “deep sleep” phase. The opposite is also true, after a few hours of sleep you’ll wake up refreshed if you do so in a “light sleep” phase. Most people have sleep cycles of about an hour and a half (90 minutes). Therefore, it is recommended to sleep in multiples of 90 minutes. Who would’ve thought that sleeping 6 hours (4 cycles of 90 minutes) was more optimal than 7 hours? However, since sleep cycles length may vary from person to person, you should experiment with various sleep durations and see what works best for you!

2. The more sleep you get, the healthier you’ll be.

Although most people take for granted that sleeping too little is bad for them, they often are ignorant of the fact that getting too much sleep can also be detrimental for their health. It’s surprising that even though it is commonly known that excesses such as over-eating and over-exercising are bad for you, it is often believed that getting “a good 12 hours” of sleep is beneficial. Actually, besides greatly reducing the time you spend awake, sleeping 12 hours has also been shown to increase your risk of diabetes, heart diseases and even death! Moreover, oversleeping has been shown to correlate with obesity, depression and low levels of energy. Science considers you to be an “over-sleeper” when you are getting more than 8 hours of sleep, on average. If that corresponds to you, it is suggested to restrict your sleeping hours, to commit to a fixed sleeping schedule and to improve your sleep quality.

3. Everybody needs the same amount of sleep.

First of all, with sleep, like most other things in life, quality is much more important than quantity. While people often assume that upon getting eight hours of sleep a night they’ll feel good, there are many more factors that should be taken into consideration. Variables like physical activity, diet, metabolism have a tremendous impact on your sleeping needs. Obviously, a monk whose routine consists of meditation, tea-drinking and minimal consumption of food will have much lower sleeping requirements than a bodybuilder who train 6 hours a day and eats over 10 000 calories. Additionally, the quality of your sleeping environment (pillows, bed, darkness of the room, etc.) also have a great impact on your sleeping needs. Lastly, committing to a fixed sleeping schedule also significantly improves sleep quality.

4. We use only 10% of our brain.

The source of this myth is unknown but one thing’s for sure, it is absolutely false. Actually, we use every part of our brain most of the time. A great deal of evidence indeed refutes this myth. Brain imaging technologies clearly show that all parts of our brain show some level of activity at all times (even during sleep). Also, no area of the brain can be harmed without resulting in a certain loss of ability. If only 10% of our brain was useful, losing some of it likely wouldn’t be such a concern! Why has this myth been so exhaustively believed and taught? Perhaps we just enjoy thinking we are much more intelligent than we are. New age gurus and pseudoscience definitely don’t help either.

5. Most of our body heat is lost from the head.

This is one myth that has been taught over and over again by parents anxious to see their kids get cold from not wearing a hat! Even US army survival manuals from the 70’s state that humans lose “40 to 45% of body heat” from the head. You might be surprised to learn that this, too, is false! We actually lose as much heat from our head than from any other parts of our body We lose about 10% of our total body heat from the head and indeed, our head represents 10% of our body surface.

6. Exposure to cold and wet weather increases your odds of getting sick.

Another one that you might have been told by your parents! This one myth has also been debunked over and over again by scientists. Double-blind studies clearly show that exposure to cold temperatures have no impact on the rate of infection by sicknesses such as the common cold virus. You may then wonder how come you get sick much more often in winter? Scientists believe that this is simply due to our increased indoor proximity of people as well as our lower Vitamin D, which is causes by lessened sunlight exposure.

7. Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

Who has never heard this one!? Several studies have studied this myth and all of them have concluded that the intake of sugar has no effect on kids’ hyperactivity. Funnily, when parents were told that their kid had eaten sugary foods (even though they had not), they reported their child as hyperactive!

Hope you enjoyed acknowledging these as much as I did!

Articles That Sizzle – Top Ten Topics

There’s one key rule that every writer should understand before sitting down to write an article and that’s “know your audience”.

Who are you writing for? A limited group of subscribers to a magazine about pig farming or a wider, more general audience?

If your goal is to reach as many readers as possible, you’ll need to know which subjects sell.

Given the choice between “How To Grow Mushrooms” and “Decorate Your Home on A Budget”, which do you think would be the most popular? Pretty obvious, isn’t it? But when you’re faced with a choice between “Sell Your Junk on Ebay” and “How to find and destroy virus on your computer”, it’s no longer quite as easy to decide which topic to go with.

Having run a website with lots of original content, I’ve been in a position to monitor the subjects that are most likely to draw attention. By basing your articles on the following ten subjects you’ll know you’re writing articles that will be read. And that’s the idea, after all, isn’t it?

1. Children

Babies are born every day creating a constant demand for advice about every aspect of childcare and general parenting.

Try to imagine of the kind of situations parents are likely to find themselves in and give them information to help them deal with it. If you’re a parent yourself, you should have no trouble finding a plethora of sub-topics to write about.

Article ideas include:

* Entertaining young children during long journeys

* How to feed a fussy child

* Developing a regular sleep pattern

* When should solids be introduced?

* What you can do to improve your child’s education

and

* How to say “no” and mean it.

2. Home and Garden

When you consider that we spend most of our leisure time at home, it isn’t difficult to understand the popularity of articles aimed at helping people make the most of their surroundings.

Women want beautiful, clutter-free homes where they can enjoy entertaining friends and a safe-haven where they can raise their families; men want homes that are easy to maintain and that won’t make too big a hole in their bank accounts.

Article ideas include:

* De-cluttering your home

* Decorating on a budget

* Child-proofing your home

* How to throw a successful dinner party

* Quick cleaning tips

and

* Designing a low maintenance garden.

3. Relationships

Most of us want to love and be loved. We want romance, great sex and the security of a stable relationship.

Articles aimed at those who are either looking for a relationship or want to improve the one they’re in have are always popular and, contrary to what most may think, not just amongst women, either.

Article ideas include:

* How to attract a mate

* Where to go and/or how to act on a date

* Using an online dating service

* Does speed dating work?

* Great sex tips

* Is he having an affair?

and

* Arranging a romantic break

4. Personal Care

Women have always spent time and money on their appearance but during the past few years men have been rapidly catching up.

While it’s a shame that so many people are unhappy with their looks, as writers we can help them find new ways of dealing with their problems. We can offer advice to help them make changes or simply help them understand that they’re not alone.

Article ideas include:

* How to combat spots and blemishes

* Looking great on a budget

* Home-made natural beauty products

* How to dress to suit your figure

* Dressing for different occasions

and

* Give yourself the perfect manicure

5. Health

While health related articles weren’t particular marketable a few years ago, with more and more people now turning towards a healthy lifestyle, there are now entire magazines and websites dedicated to healthy living.

Now that the focus has turned from cure to prevention, most people are looking for ways to improve their health. Fitness studios have never been so popular and even good old-fashioned walking’s back in vogue.

Get typing and do your bit to bring health and vitality to those around you.

Article ideas include:

* Alternative therapies

* What is the “Body Mass Index”?

* Healthy weight loss

* Lowering the risk of heart disease

and

* Low fat cooking

6. Making Money

This is one that’ll never go out of fashion! No matter where in the world you are, there will be always people interested in making money.

Think of the stay-at-home parent who’s looking for ways to help top-up the family income. What advice would you give to him or her? And what about those women who are trying to juggle a career and family without falling apart? Do you have any tips to help them cope?

What about those who are looking for a job? They’re out to make money, too. What advice would you give somebody before going to an interview? How should they go about writing a CV?

And then there’s saving money. As they say, a penny saved is a penny made.

Article ideas include:

* How to dress for an interview

* Making money on the Internet

* Running a business from home

* Tax saving tips

* How to find cheap flights

and

* Generating an income from your hobby

7. Food and Drink

We eat every day. More often than not, we eat several times a day.

Eating isn’t simply a means of survival. Everything from the preparation of a meal to actually eating it can be a fun and enjoyable task.

Whether for basic meals or for something more out of the ordinary, advice and tips on how to make food and drink more interesting always make popular articles and there are lots of food related traditions and festivals around the world that can make interesting articles, too.

Article ideas include:

* Healthy lunch packs for kids

* Successful dinner parties

* How to ice a cake

* Brew your own beer

* Meals for vegetarians

and

* How to choose wine

8. Weddings

Every day, thousands of couples all over the globe saying “I do”, making weddings a market that simply never dries up.

A plethora of services are available to help the engaged couple plan their wedding and for the writer, each and every service is also a subject to write about.

Article ideas include:

* Why employ a professional wedding planner?

* Displaying wedding photographs

* Scrap-booking your wedding

* Weddings on a budget

* How to choose a dress that will suit your figure

* The role of the best man

and

* Wedding day hairstyles and/or make-up

9. Crafts and DIY

People love making things.

Whether it’s a quilt to be given as a gift and heirloom, a toy for the baby of the family or a full set of kitchen cupboards, somebody out there will want to make it.

Article ideas include:

* Re-vamping old furniture

* Using paint effects

* The basic toolbox everybody should have

* Flower arranging

* How to hang wallpaper

and

* Gifts to make on a budget

10. Self Improvement

People are always searching for ways of improving their lives and that often means looking inward and solving problems within themselves.

From improving self-confidence to increasing spiritual awareness, self improvement is a popular subject, especially amongst women.

Article ideas include:

* Speak up and be heard

* Meditation: How it can help you understand yourself

* Bring out the leader in you

* How to get what you really want

* Improving your communication skills

and

* Disposing of emotional baggage

So there you have them. In no particular order, the top ten most sought after topics to help you write articles that your editors will love.

Kids First, Safety Always: How a Dad Protects Without Over-Protecting

I’d like to ask you to do something we all dread, but please indulge me. Sit back for a minute and vividly imagine the sickening remorse you would feel if your child looked to you in an emergency, and you froze or panicked.

The fear of being unprepared during a crisis has literally kept me up at night, and I know I’m not alone.

Next, visualize a situation in which you apply safety know-how to save your child from injury-or worse. Envision the peace of mind that comes with being prepared. Having some trouble painting this mental picture? I want to help you.

MY BACKGROUND

I’m an unbelievably lucky husband, and the proud father of a funny, energetic four-year-old boy and his sassy 22-month-old sidekick of a sister. My kids, along with their mom, drive my overarching purpose in life: To protect my family and keep it happy.

For the past 10 years, I have been very pleased and fortunate to make a living by helping to protect dignitaries, my colleagues and their families. The primary goals in my life, at work and at home, have some overlapping similarities. My job, as a professional and a dad, is to sensibly minimize the risk of danger to the people I care about through:

• Prevention: Studying risks and how to reduce their likelihood.
• Detection: Recognizing hazards as they develop.
• Reaction: Responding appropriately.

Whether that means protecting colleagues from danger overseas, or keeping my family safe at home in northern Virginia, a protective mindset pervades my life and colors how I address the risks to my family’s security.

RISKS

Let me be very upfront and transparent: I am not some self-proclaimed child safety guru. Far from it. Before I could ever prevent, detect and react to child safety risks, I first had to get smart. As I quickly found out, I had a lot to learn.

I based my self-education on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s statistics on accidental child deaths, which show suffocation, drowning and motor vehicle accidents as the major causes. Falls, burns, vehicle accidents and poisoning ranked highest as causes of accidental, but nonfatal, injuries.

I suppose I could have stopped there, but I kept on and also studied dozens of other risk topics such as abduction, car seats, fire prevention, household hazards and travel safety. And that’s just for starters. As I type this, I am learning about the perils of alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, driving, exploitation, internet and sports injuries, to name a few.

The author Napoleon Hill wrote: “Knowledge is not power; it is only potential power that becomes real through use.” The same can be said about risks to your kids’ safety; being able to apply your knowledge is what counts, and having a risk assessment process in place has led me to consistent results.

THE PROCESS

After my son was born, and later my daughter, I soon found myself relying on a process that I call the Four A’s of Child Safety:

• Awareness: Be vigilant and conscious of your kids’ surroundings.
• Anticipation: Try to stay ‘one step ahead’ by predicting kids’ actions.
• Assessment: Quickly weigh an activity’s likely benefits against the possibility of a worst-case outcome.
• Action: Be in a position to act decisively, because serious accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

Make no mistakes about it: This process takes time and effort. However, like most worthwhile habits, through repetition I adapted it to how I approach my kids’ many activities. The Four A’s of Child Safety give me the power to permissively say ‘yes’ more often than reflexively saying ‘no’.

This process isn’t perfect, because it’s impossible to be everywhere and predict everything. There is no such thing as zero-defect parenting. Nevertheless, I rely on the process and a protective mindset to help shield my kids from the really bad stuff out there.

THE PROTECTIVE MINDSET

The essence of the protective mindset is a holistic understanding of the hazards our kids face. This awareness generates a frame of reference, which allows me to better assess likely risks and narrow my focus on protective versus over-protective parenting.

You see, I am a proudly protective, but not over-protective, dad. In no way do I endorse ‘helicopter parenting’ by hovering over your kids or worrying yourself sick about worst-case scenarios. I understand and appreciate the positive effects that living and playing freely in a permissive environment has on my kids’ physical and emotional health. My wife and I are committed to raising strong, confident and independent human beings.

However, that doesn’t stop me from continually assessing their risk of suffering serious harm. In the U.S. alone, 12,000 children die preventable deaths every year, and kids will be rushed to emergency rooms 9,000,000 times. Only the lucky ones will recover fully. That’s why I do what I can-without ‘hovering’-to keep my kids from becoming one of these sad statistics. Aside from being a great husband, it’s my priority in life. Period. Full stop.

Some critics might argue that being even moderately safety-conscious can negatively affect your children’s self-esteem, confidence and appetite for risk-taking. This may be true in some cases, but I would rather hope for the best while I mentally prepare for the worst than gamble on chance or ‘fate’. My kids deserve that much. All kids do.