Sleep Later, Live Longer – and Why Big Girls Have More Fun

by DavalosMcCormack on October 31, 2008

I’m really not a big fan of Spring Forward, that day in spring when you lose an hour of sleep. But I love it when it’s time to Fall Back, you get an extra hour in bed, and often on a day when it’s cold and wet outside. How cool is that! Better still, a new study says it could also help save your life.

Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden (and if anyone knows about cold, miserable weather it’s the folks at the KI) found that while adjusting the clocks ahead to make the move to summer time increases the risk of a heart attack, putting the clocks back in the fall reduces the risk. 

The study, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the increase in heart attacks after setting the clocks forward in the spring is about 5 percent. Not much, but if you are in that 5 percent it’s a lot! 

They’re not sure why, but think it is probably because of disruptions in sleep. So sleep easy this weekend, knowing that just staying in bed that extra hour increases your chance of making it through another day. 

Pill Does Not Increase Weight Gain
The contraceptive birth control pill is one of the most widely used, heavily tested medications in the world. It’s also one of the most widely celebrated, for obvious reasons. But I digress. 

Despite all that, many women still don’t take the Pill because they are worried it will lead to weight gain (mind you not taking it could lead to even more weight gain, at least for 9 months, but again I digress). 

However, a study by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care says there is no evidence that taking the Pill will make you fat. The researchers say their work shows that as many women taking the Pill report losing weight as gaining weight.

The researchers say if women are worried about weight gain they should talk with their doctor. There are plenty of contraceptive options, other than the Pill and they say women should make sure to use one of those options rather than doing nothing because they are worried about packing on a few extra pounds.

 Big Love
And speaking of women and weight. Researchers in Oregon and Hawaii say a woman’s weight does not seem to affect her sexual behavior. In fact, they found that bigger women are more likely to have sex than so called “normal weight” women. 

The study, in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology looked at the relationship between body mass index (a measure of weight and height) and sexual behavior. This wasn’t some frivolous piece of research, they were trying to understand the relationship because there is evidence that overweight women are more at risk of unintended pregnancies, which suggests maybe they aren’t getting the counseling they need on birth control from their physicians, possibly because doctors don’t think overweight women are having sex. 

What they found surprised them and contradicted some widely held stereotypes that overweight women are not as sexually active as their more ‘normal weight’ counterparts. If anything, the opposite is true. 

The bottom line, other than “you go girl”, is that physicians – and let’s face it, the rest of us too – should not make assumptions about sexual activity based purely on physical appearance.

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