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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hibernate200As we head toward the shortest day of the year, it’s cold, damp and dark here on the western edge of the continent, prime season for hibernation. Is a looong nap really a good idea? And how to perk up without resorting to sugar and over-caffeination?

Keep reading for 10 energy-boosting tips. 

SleeplessFlag200Forty percent of American adults are sleep deprived, many sleeping less than five hours a night.

And among all people in America, adolescents are the most prone to sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep increases the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, depression and mental disorders, substance abuse and traffic accidents.

Keep reading to tune into Sleepless in America, a thought-provoking new documentary about the science of sleep that airs 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014

seattlesunsetDrat. The movement to abolish daylight saving time hasn’t yet gained enough steam to stop the twice yearly changing of the clocks.

Research shows that messing with our circadian rhythms during the semi-annual back-and-forth results in more heart attacks, traffic accidents, suicides and cyberloafing. Plus, energy studies show daylight saving time actually wastes energy, contrary to its original intent.

The good news is that the autumn time change, when we “fall back” and gain an hour of sleep, offers a chance to tune-up sleep habits. Keep reading for links to research--and tips on how to start preparing your body for disrupted sleep come Nov. 2.

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.

GermanSpaTown200

 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.)