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How to Reverse the 7 Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation



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The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. Only 1% of people on the planet who share the gene (BHLHE41) can exist safely on less than six hours of sleep per night.

Elon Musk might be able to run four companies on little or no sleep – temporarily – but he’s slowly killing himself, and he’s even admitted his sleeping pills aren’t working anymore. Sleep is imperative for human beings to function, no matter how highly they you are. If you are a mover and shaker, or you just want to sleep better, keep reading to learn how to hack better sleep.

Sleep just might be the most overlooked aspect of your mental and physical health. We constantly look for ways to make life better with different hacks and tricks, but it turns out that as little as one night of lost sleep can cause havoc on our bodies and minds.

Many of us turn to caffeine and sugar to make up for our sleepless nights and fitful bouts of insomnia, but when we relegate sleep to the bottom of our to-do list we’re setting ourselves up for daily failure, as well as long-term damage to our health.

Here’s why sleeplessness is so bad for you, and what you can do about it, right now – as in tonight!

1. One Night of Bad Sleep Hurts Your Immune System

Loss of sleep is not only horrible for our immune system, but it also can make us get sick more often – and when we really need sleep, immune signaling is weakened. The signaling systems of the immune system including specific cytokines become dampened when we don’t get enough sleep, so we are not only prone to getting sick more often but our bodies will have a harder time healing us once we do.

Remedy: Give up smoking and alcohol. Smoking and alcohol are both linked to poor sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant and the thousands of other chemicals in cigarettes also cause chronic inflammation which can contribute to sleeplessness. Alcohol may seem like a short-term way to calm your mind and fall asleep, but your nightcap isn’t really helping with your insomnia. Alcohol causes disruptions in REM sleep, considered one of the most healing and restorative phases of the sleep cycle.

2. If You’re a Dude, Waking Too Much Can Lower Your Testosterone Levels (Lower Libido and Sexual Drive)

If you aren’t the hero in the bedroom that you used to be you might be able to blame it on lack of sleep. It turns out that chronic sleeplessness can lower your testosterone levels, causing a lackluster sex life and lowered libido. People with sleep apnea are especially at risk.

Remedy: To cure frequent waking in the night, make sure to move your workout to the morning hours so that you can use that energy to propel you throughout the day, and it won’t give you a boost of energy right when you need to retire for the evening. Exercise also happens to help with insomnia. Also, keep your caffeine to a minimum and go for just one cup of Joe so that you aren’t stimulated at night. Caffeine is full of antioxidants and can be health-boosting but it is also a stimulant, so steer clear of caffeine past around 2:00 PM.

3. Chronic Insomnia Can Cause Depression

Bad sleep can increase the symptoms of anxiety and depression even in someone who is normally full of good cheer. The National Sleep Foundation says that even small losses of sleep can chip away at your happiness.

Remedy: Boost serotonin, melatonin, tryptophan, and dopamine which are all neurotransmitters which help to regulate your circadian rhythms – with your diet. Plant-based foods are best. Try to incorporate more nuts, pumpkin seeds, sprouts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, hemp seed, leafy greens, and fruit and vegetables. Limit refined and highly processed foods because they can inhibit your production of these important neurochemicals that improve sleep. 

4. Poor Sleep Increases Your Risk for Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Obesity, Heart Disease and Other Serious Diseases

People who work in shifts are particularly prone to poor sleep quality, but there are many reasons we can’t sleep as well as we’d like to. Every night of sleep we don’t get increases our chances of certain types of cancer (particularly prostate and breast cancers) as well as heart disease, inflammation-related disorders, and more.

Remedy: To stay asleep and fall asleep more easily, use black out curtains or a sleep mask to keep all light from entering your eyes. Our bodies only make melatonin when we are in complete darkness, and this hormone is required for quality sleep. If you need to sleep during the day, invest in high-quality black out shades or curtains that can mimic darkness, and make sure to get as much natural day-light in your awake hours as possible to help balance your circadian rhythms.

5. Insomnia Causes You to Have Poor Memory and Bad Cognitive Skills

When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your brain suffers. Multiple areas of the brain are affected by poor sleep, including those that help you learn new things, and store memories. Your creativity also takes a back seat when you are sleep deprived because your body goes into “subside” mode instead of “thrive” mode.

Remedy: Put away your cell phone. The blue light and electromagnetic frequencies from your cell phone may be disturbing your sleep. That light communicates to your brain that it is morning – time to wake up, instead of time to sleep. Try to turn off your cell phone at least one hour before retiring.

6. A Lack of Sleep Makes You Eat Junk Food

Sleeplessness may be contributing to the extra pounds around your middle. Without enough sleep your body doesn’t make enough serotonin so it goes looking for a quick (and unhealthy fix) in simple carbs and sugars. This then creates insulin resistance and causes you to put on extra weight because you are consuming more calories and not getting the nutrients you need.

Remedy: Take adaptogenic herbs that help promote energy while you are awake and sound sleep at night. Ashwagandha and Kava Kava as well as Valerian root can help you sleep better naturally.

7. Sleep Deprivation Makes You More Prone to Accidents

When you don’t get ample sleep you are more likely to get into a car accident, trip and fall, or even make rash decisions that lead to personal injury or accident.

Remedy: Practice yoga nidra. This ancient practice known as “yogic sleep” can help to restore the body in 30-120 minutes to the same degree that a full night of sleep can. Yoga nidra is like a combination of self-hypnosis, meditation, and a guided relaxation exercise. It can be even more effective than just a “nap.” If you have to make a car trip and you’ve not gotten sufficient sleep, try this. It will save your life and possibly other people’s too.

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Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People



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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say



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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact



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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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