Why Sleep Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Colds – and other news

by DavalosMcCormack on January 15, 2009

You know how crappy you feel when you don’t get a good night’s sleep. You spend the day wandering around in a fug, feeling sluggish, cranky, even cantankerous. And now apparently you can add to that list of sleep-deprived side effects that you may also feel like hell because you have a cold.

The study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who get less than seven hours sleep a night are around three times more likely to develop a cold after being exposed to a cold virus, compared to people who get eight or more hours sleep a night.

Now, this was kind of a sneaky study. The researchers studied 153 healthy men and women who were interviewed about their sleep habits, how many hours of sleep they get every night etc. Then the participants were put in quarantine for five days and were given nasal drops containing the cold virus.

Those who reported getting more than 8 hours sleep a night before being smeared with the virus and locked up were far less likely to come down with a cold than those who get less then 7 hours of shuteye. (By the way, the people all agreed beforehand to getting locked up for five days, apparently they were glad of the rest, either they were harried parents or on the lam!)
Now, it was a set-up on one level, but it still points to the fact that if you get more sleep you are less likely to get sick. Your body’s immune system is stronger, your ability to fight off a cold better. Doesn’t that sound like the most fun way to avoid getting sick?

Cholesterol level doesn’t always indicate heart attack risk

For years we’ve been told that a high cholesterol level means we’re heading for a heart attack. On the basis of that we’ve been sold books on cholesterol-busting diets, bought expensive gym-memberships to work out more, and given miracle drugs that will lower our LDL – the so-called bad cholesterol – and boost our HDL or good cholesterol. Turns out, cholesterol level may not be such a good guide after all.

A national study published in the American Heart Journal found that nearly 75 percent of people hospitalized after a heart attack had cholesterol levels that were not high and would not suggest they were at risk for heart problems.
In particular these patients had levels of LDL that met the current guidelines for healthy cholesterol.

The researchers say this doesn’t mean that cholesterol isn’t a good measure of heart attack risk, only that the current guidelines are not good measures. They say we may need to lower the amount of LDL that is considered safe or optimal to have.

Gee, thanks doc!
Don’t want to buy it? Don’t touch it!

Before the current unpleasantness in Iraq began, then Secretary of State Colin Powell quoted what he called the “Pottery Barn” rule which basically stated “You break it, you own it”. Well apparently that doesn’t just apply to failed nation state-building policies in the Mid East.

A new study found that if a consumer touches an item, even for just a few seconds, they are also more likely to buy it and pay more for it, than if they hadn’t touched it at all. Now that definitely sounds like a government policy doesn’t it?
Researchers at Ohio State University and Illinois State University got a bunch of students and asked them to bid on some coffee mugs after first inspecting one. Some students  got to handle a mug for 10 seconds, some for 30.

All the students were told the retail value of the mug before being asked to bid on it at auction. Those who held the mug for longer were likely to bid higher to buy it (an average of $3.91) compared to those who held it for just 10 seconds ($2.44)

So, remember that the next time you are tempted to buy a flashy new suit or fancy pair of shoes, or a new iPod. The longer you hold it, the more you’ll feel it’s already yours and the more likely you are to make it yours, even if that means paying more than it’s worth.

Apparently beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also in their hand.

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