It's no secret that sleep deprivation does bad things to your brain and your body. But how many Zzzz's do we really need to get by-and how much more would we require in order to be at our best every day?
A recent study by David Dinges, the head of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, says that the magic number is eight. Test subjects who logged a solid eight hours of sleep per night had very few any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the course of Dinges' two-week study, but subjects who got just six hours of slumber "were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight - the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk," The New York Times reported.
With plenty of stimulation (coffee, anyone?) we do cope, of course. And even Dignes acknowledges that not every sleeper is the same; about 5 percent of the population, he estimates, are fine with five or fewer hours of sleep
Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Healthy Living – Mon, Apr 25, 2011 10:14 PM EDT
It's no secret that sleep deprivation does bad things to your brain and your body. But how many Zzzz's do we really need to get by-and how much more would we require in order to be at our best every day?Read More »from Expert says you need 8 hours of sleep. How much do you really get each night?
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Fri, Apr 22, 2011 11:32 PM EDT
In the United States, the fight against childhood obesity has focused mainly on kids' diet and exercise levels. But a new international study is delving deeper, and has found that moms who minimize their carbohydrate intake during the early part of their pregnancies are more likely to have kids who become obese.Read More »from Study: Not eating enough carbs while pregnant may increase your baby's obesity risk
Researcher think that the developing baby may adjust its DNA in order to adapt to the environment into which it will be born. A lack of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) early on in its development may signal a need to be able to store energy in the form of fat before adolescence.
"We have shown for the first time that susceptibility to obesity cannot simply be attributed to the combination of our genes and our lifestyle, but can be triggered by influences on a baby's development in the womb, including what the mother ate," the study's leader, University of Southampton professor Keith Godfrey, said in a statement. "A mother's nutrition while pregnant can cause important
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Author Blog Posts – Fri, Apr 22, 2011 7:05 PM EDT
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Student loan debt reached an all-time high in 2010, outpacing credit card debt for the first time and leading economists to wonder if we should look at loans as a "healthy investment" rather than a financial burden.Read More »from Student loan debt: 3 tips for tackling it
Last year, the average student left college with $24,000 in student loan debt, and the amount is higher for those graduating from pricey private colleges, where tuition can cost as much as $50,000 a year.
"When you think about what's good debt and what's bad debt, student loans fall into the realm of good debt, like mortgages," Susan Dynarski, a professor of education and public policy at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times recently. "It's an investment that pays off over the whole life cycle."
Other experts disagree, pointing out that a lot depends on the kind of job you land after you graduate. With unemployment for recent college graduates on rise-8.7 percent in 2009, up from 5.8 percent in 2009-that student loan debt can linger for a long time.
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Work + Money – Thu, Apr 21, 2011 7:16 PM EDT
Pit bulls have a reputation for being ferocious beasts, but deep down inside, many of them are just beefy sweethearts-and a good owner can bring out the best in them. Here's a gentle giant giving a little love to a baby cottontail rabbit, who seems to be tolerating the wash down pretty well.Read More »from Pit bull gives baby bunny a bath. The cuteness! (Video)
I half expected the video to end with a Monty Python-esque homage to the killer rabbit and Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, but no. But in case you were hoping for that, too, here's the clip:
Now that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide.
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Wed, Apr 20, 2011 9:47 PM EDT
I had planned for a natural birth when I was pregnant with my first child. "Crunchy granola," my friends called it. My parents were alarmed (they pictured me laboring outdoors under a tree wearing beads and doused with patchouli, I think) but I was certain that my body already "knew" how to give birth-that's what it was designed to do, right?-and that all would be fine.Read More »from Home birth vs. hospital birth: The debate rages on
Still, I'm a pragmatic, don't-believe-everything-you-hear journalist who's always looking for the other side of the story, and so is my husband. And so we picked a birthing center that partnered with a well-equipped hospital right across the street. Just in case.
I practiced my breathing and attended the prenatal classes and wrote out my birthing plan and got ready for what I was sure would be a wonderful, albeit painful, life-affirming experience. I brushed off the uneasy feeling I got when the prenatal instructor chirped, "That rarely happens!" after I asked her about danger signs and complications. I'd soak in a
Earning potential isn't the only thing you look at while searching for a job, so why should it be the main consideration when ranking what's already out there?Read More »from The best and worst jobs in 2011
For their 2011 Jobs Rated Report, CareerCast took into account the physical and emotional work environment, potential for stress, physical demands, and the hiring outlook as well as the mid-level (not average) incomes in order to rank 200 U.S. jobs from best to worst. And it makes for some interesting, unpredictable results.
Because of high stress levels and low earning potential, teaching jobs, which have been in the news so much this year, placed squarely in the middle of the pack, in 100th place. School principals fared better, in 41st place, ranking higher than judges (54th) because even though judges earn tens of thousands of dollars more, principals have a better chance of actually finding a job.
What other jobs did CareerCast evaluate? Dentists (75th), mechanical engineers (62nd), and members of the clergy (68th) all
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Mon, Apr 18, 2011 9:26 PM EDT
Thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood obesity and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's push to revolutionize school lunches, schools these days are much more focused on healthy eating-so much so that some of them are taking a closer look at what parents pack in their kids' lunchboxes.Read More »from Why don't schools serve water to students during lunch?
But while the food choices seem much better than what they were when we were kids, the drink choices are pretty much still the same: white milk or chocolate milk, and maybe some sort of juice. What's still missing from the menu is water.
Part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed last year requires that clean water be easily available in schools. But the problem is that while water is available, there's often no way for kids to easily consume it during lunch.
Studies show that drinking water during the school day can help lower the risk of childhood obesity by as much as 30 percent. So what's preventing schools from offering it at lunch?
Money. Not only are disposable cups
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Work + Money – Fri, Apr 15, 2011 7:02 PM EDT
Sarah Palin holds her infant son, Trig, as she stands on stage with her husband, Todd, during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 3, 2008. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)With billionaire businessman Donald Trump eying the White House (and taking second place in a recent Public Polling Survey of possible republican candidates), his resurrection of the Obama birth certificate controversy is shining a light on something GOP contender Sarah Palin would prefer to keep private: whether 2-year-old Trig is her biological son-or her grandson.Read More »from Sarah Palin's birther problem resurfaces: Was her pregnancy with Trig a hoax?
It's an issue that first came up days after Arizona Senator John McCain emerged as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and Palin was on the short list for the VP spot. In March 2008 Palin, then 44 and the governor of Alaska, announced to her shocked staff that, in spite of her barely-there belly and pre-pregnancy wardrobe, she was seven months pregnant with her fifth child. Trig was born, a month early, on April 18; McCain asked Palin to be his running mate in late August. The pregnancy-hoax rumor was squashed on September 1 by the McCain campaign's awkward announcement that Palin's teenage
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Work + Money – Wed, Apr 13, 2011 10:14 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Jill Biden just after launching This week, the White House launched a new initiative to support military families.Read More »from White House launches "Joining Forces" to support military families
Spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden (a Blue Star mom herself), the goal of Joining Forces is to increase awareness of the role that military families are playing and to find ways to support military spouses, children, and veterans.
"This is about the responsibility that we each have to one another, as Americans," the First Lady said during Tuesday's launch of the program. "It's about the fact that... one percent of Americans may be fighting on our behalf, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting our troops and their families. This campaign is about renewing those bonds and those connections between those who serve and the rest of us who live free because of their service."
"This will help unify us as a country," Mrs. Obama said in an interview after the launch. "It's something we can all rally around, regardless of our political party or geographic area. It's an