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Health headlines explained: sleep, obesity & whether sitting down is bad for your health

Friday 3rd October

We bring you the explanations behind the latest health headlines on how sitting down affects your health, TV links to obesity and whether moving to the country can help you sleep better.  

Is sitting down bad for my health? - The Guardian

What’s the problem? The more time we spend sitting down, the more likely it is that we’ll be affected by a range of serious health conditions. Some stats say that if you spend more than 11 hours a day seated, you’re 40% more likely to die in the next three years.

What you need to know. As more and more jobs and hobbies become sitting down affairs, the amount of time we’re seated is increasing, and with that comes risks to our health. Research suggests our risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and many other health problems increases the more we sit. What’s striking is that even if you exercise regularly and are of a healthy weight, sitting down will still put you at a higher risk.

What’s the solution? Stand up for a longer portion of your day where possible. Try allocating certain tasks at work as “standing jobs”, or doing one of your usual activities on your feet instead of on your behind. Read the experience of one man who tried spending more time standing over a one month period here.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/15/is-sitting-down-bad-for-my-health

Limit TV to help fight obesity, says NICE – BBC

What’s the problem? The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recommending that we limit the amount of TV we watch - either sticking to two hours a day or switching off for a whole day each week

What you need to know. This recommendation comes as one of several pieces of advice to help combat obesity. As well as cutting down time watching TV, there is advice to avoid fizzy drinks, high fat foods and limit takeaways. This may all seem obvious, but a quarter of adults and one in five school children are now obese. Being overweight can increase your likelihood of developing a series of conditions, including diabetes and cancer, so we need to make sure these messages are getting heard.

If you are worried about your weight, there are steps you can take. Try changing your routine to include more exercise, for example, walking or cycling to work if you can. Take a look at your diet and see where you could cut out high fat and high sugar foods and replace them with plenty of fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses, fish and lean meat. If you’re struggling to lose weight, visit your GP: they can offer you support and advice.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29311464

Does moving to the country help you sleep better? – Telegraph

What’s the problem? New research from the Sleep Council goes against the idea that urban living is responsible for disturbed sleep.

What you need to know. There are clearly more distractions and interactions in urban areas, yet a nationwide study found the most disturbed sleep patterns occurred in a mix of rural and urban areas - with London coming out average. The study suggests that stress is a much bigger factor in poor sleep: 72% of Britons surveyed said that they suffered sleep problems when they were stressed. Stress causes our bodies to release cortisol, the hormone also responsible for waking us up in the morning.

Time of year also has a big impact. September has been pinpointed by the Stress Management Society as particularly bad because the summer is over, children are back to school, the weather is starting to change and there are no public holidays on the near horizon. Read more here.

Experts suggest that limiting, or banning, electronic devices in the bedroom helps us to wind down. See here for more tips on getting a good night’s sleep.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/11106560/Does-moving-to-the-country-help-you-sleep-better.html

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