When you find yourself struggling to concentrate on something, try having a glass of water. That’s the conclusion of a new, detailed analysis of more than 30 studies into the effects of dehydration, NPR.org reports. The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that going thirsty had no significant impact on reaction times and other basic cognitive functions. But for more complex tasks that require focused attention or coordination, dehydration did appear to impair people’s performance. Examples include “maintaining focus in a long meeting, driving a car, [or] a monotonous job in a hot factory,” said study leader Mindy Millard-Stafford. “Higher-order functions like doing math or applying logic also dropped off.” Millard-Stafford and her colleagues found that cognitive impairment tended to begin when people lost 2 percent of the water in their body. For the average person, that equates to about 35 fluid ounces of sweat—roughly what you’d produce with an (Read More)
Laptops and smartphones may keep you informed and connected like never before, but they also could be keeping you from getting enough sleep. A poll by the nonprofit National Sleep Foundation found a suspicious correlation between our use of high-tech gadgets and our worsening sleep habits. Here, a brief guide to the findings: What is the connection between sleep and smartphones? Forty-three percent of poll respondents said they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep. And nearly 95 percent reported that they frequently use a computer, smartphone, TV, or other electronic device in the hour before bedtime. “Technology has invaded the bedroom,” says study task force member Charles Czeisler, as quoted by Reuters, and that’s one reason so many Americans “routinely get less sleep than they need.” Do laptops cause other sleep-related problems? Yes. According to the researchers’ statement announcing their findings, “artificial-light exposure between dusk and the time (Read More)
We are nearing the season of Lent, so many of us are reflecting on our lives and making commitments to give up certain luxuries. A recent study shows that checking your email and social media sites is actually more addictive than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.
The great comedian Jackie Gleason once quipped, “The past remembers a lot better than it lived.” Honestly, there is much truth in this statement. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the frenetic pace of our non-stop world and even the nightly news is a source of fear and trepidation when we see the seemingly endless carnage and despair in so many corners of the world. But it is also helpful to be reminded that our world and society is in many ways much better than years past. If you are feeling overwhelmed, there are healthy, natural ways to deal with stress.
A study conducted by UC Irvine and the US Army this year showed that being cut off from work email significantly reduces stress and improves focus.