How to Be a Mindful Parent When You Are Feeling Stressed

Mother in pajamas with coffee sits on the bed while children jump all around her

Written by Dr. Claire Nicogossian, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Stress is a part of life and nothing amplifies that emotion more than being a parent. Raising a family is hard work, and while there are many rewards, the reality is, being a parent is a role made up of active nurturing and intense responsibility for at least two decades until children become independent and are ready to launch into the world.

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In the News: Study Explains Why Insomniacs Sleep Without Realizing, Weight Loss Surgery Linked to Divorce and Marriage, Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked With Deaths

New study explains why some insomniacs sleep without realizing it. Labeled as “sleep misperception”, there is a phenomenon where people with insomnia are clearly asleep but do not experience it, reporting the next morning that they did not sleep at all. To find out more, Professor Daniel Kay of Brigham Young University and his team studied 32 people with insomnia and 30 people without the condition – their sleep patterns, brain wave, and activity patterns during sleep, and participants’ own reports of their sleep experience the next morning. Those with insomnia who reported not being asleep when the polysomnography (technology to track sleep) reported them to be so were confirmed to be experiencing conscious-level activity in their brain during non-REM stages. This suggests that those who suffer from this condition are not receiving the inhibitory neurons that your brain sends out gradually until you eventually lose consciousness and go to sleep. This, in turn, has great implications for the treatment of insomnia, involving a new goal of helping those people experience greater inhibitory activity, and Professor Kay recommends that these people engage in lengthy mindful meditation before sleeping in the meantime. If you’re struggling to sleep, here are the five best snacks for you to choose from. (MNT)

Weight loss surgery correlated to both divorces and marriages. According to a new study from a university in Sweden, weight loss surgery can have a huge impact on interpersonal relationships. The first part of the study compared about 2,000 obese individuals who had weight loss surgery with the same amount of people who had not; the second part compared over 29,000 obese individuals who had weight loss surgery with over 283,000 people in the general population. Interestingly, while unmarried participants who had the surgery were about 35 percent more likely to get married than their general population counterparts, the married participants who underwent surgery were also 41 percent more likely to get divorced. The researchers explained this trend by saying that the surgery makes people more likely to re-evaluate current relationships, and feel that they actually can either begin one or end an unhealthy one. They also speculated that feelings of jealousy or inadequacy in the other partner may play a part. This is an interesting pattern to note as bariatric surgery is becoming only more popular, following revelations that undergoing this treatment option carries fewer health risks than being obese. If you’re trying to lose weight, here are six surprising foods to help you along the way. (REUTERS)

Hospitalizations and deaths across Illinois linked with synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are manmade drugs designed to produce the same mind-altering effects as marijuana, but they are much more powerful – and much more dangerous, as has been proven in Illinois. More than 70 cases of severe bleeding from many different body parts have been reported, as well as the two deaths of healthy men in their 20s after they used synthetic cannabinoids. Nine of these cases tested positive for rat poison. Though these products are toxic, people are tempted to use them because they are conveniently sold in stores and do not show up in a drug test; this argument has been used for the legalization of the far less dangerous real marijuana plant, which would prevent people from resorting to these manmade products to feel the pain relief and mental effects of marijuana. Though the synthetic products are not fully regulated, government and law enforcement officials urge the public to never experiment with them, particularly not in the wake of this outbreak. Three people have been arrested in connection with these hospitalizations and deaths. (CNN)

The Surprising Reason You’re Not Sleeping Through the Night

young couple sleeping in bed

Written by Dr. Daniel Barone 

There are few things more frustrating than not being able to sleep. It seems like it should be so simple: you get tired, you lie down, and the next thing you know, it’s morning. But for so many of you, it’s not simple at all – it’s a struggle. Unfortunately, figuring out what’s preventing you from getting the rest you need can also be a challenge. As a sleep doctor, I see this every day in my office. One cause of sleepless nights that many people don’t realize they are living with is restless legs syndrome (RLS).

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Concepts to Think About When It Comes to Your Nutrition

Young woman carries a shopping basket filled with fresh produce. She is shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables in a grocery store.

Written by Allen Tran, MS, RD, CSSD, High Performance Dietitian and Chef for U.S. Ski and Snowboard

Nutrition is vital for any elite athlete or weekend warrior. It’s the foundation for peak performance and the fuel behind it. And when it comes down to it, what you put in your body can be the difference between standing on the podium or going home empty-handed.

Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds, prepping for a local 5K, or simply want to live a healthier lifestyle, here are three main principles to think about when it comes to your nutrition.

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In the News: Slight Calorie Restriction Shown to Slow Effects of Aging, Hormone Therapy May Fight Belly Fat, Full Social Life as a Child Linked to Better Adult Health

Calorie restriction reduces adverse effects of aging. Scientists at Pennington Biomedical Research conducted the first study on calorie restriction in non-obese humans. Fifty-three healthy people between the ages of 21 and 50 cut their calorie intake by 15 percent over the course of two years. On average, the participants lost about 9 kg, but there was no prescribed diet and the goal was not weight loss, but rather to study the effect on aging. No adverse effects were noted, and instead, participants reported improved mood and health-related quality of life. Furthermore, and perhaps most revealing, the decreased calorie intake led to lowered oxidative stress, something that has been proven to lead to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Take a look at seven foods that are linked to premature aging to learn more. (SD)

Hormone therapy may fight post-menopausal belly fat. One of the most common conditions accompanying a loss of estrogen production is increased belly fat, and it can be frustrating that it crops up with no changes to your diet or exercise regimen and causes such severe health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes risks. However, a new study of over 1,000 post-menopausal women found that women using hormone therapy had significantly less belly fat and other distressing side effects of menopause. This research comes after years of women fearing hormone intervention to combat menopausal symptoms due to previous reports that it may increase a woman’s risk for heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer. However, these studies did not take into account the ages of the women they studied, and it now appears with this new comprehensive study that women 50 to 60, transitioning into menopause, can benefit greatly from this therapy without the added risk of disease. The study also found an immediate increase in belly fat after the hormone therapy had been discontinued, and everybody is different, so all options are worth discussing with your physician. Take this quiz to find out your belly fat type. (CNN)

A healthy social life as a young person is linked to better physical health in adulthood. It has long been suspected that a healthy social life has both current and lasting effects on one’s physical health, but a recent study published by the Association of Psychological Science confirms this and suggests that more quality time spent with friends in childhood has the most significant effect on physical health in adulthood. The more time young boys spent with friends in childhood (as reported by their parents at the time, beginning at age 6), the lower their blood pressure and BMI as 32-year-old adults. The findings were consistent among 267 participants, across races and social classes, and this longitudinal study controlled for other factors such as personality or weight in childhood and adulthood. However, the study must be repeated with females, a larger sample, and more physiological measures to be certain of the link between time spent with friends in childhood and better physical health in adulthood. (SD)