Health

Melatonin and root causes of poor sleep

We were shocked by the revelation that over 117,000 people under 18 were given “off label” melatonin prescriptions in 2017-18 (Fears over rise in use of melatonin to aid sleep, 3 November). Surprisingly, sales of melatonin are not regulated and it is widely available as an over-the-counter medication and from [...]

Back to books: the joy of slow reading

Ten years ago, I typed the phrase “slow reading” into a web search engine. I found reports about dyslexia and eye disorders. In these cases, slow reading is understandably a problem and interventions can be helpful. Often, though, slowness in the pace of reading and thinking is desirable. Try the same web search [...]

Seven ways to improve your reflexes

Pick a sport, any sport – and practise What exactly do you want to improve your reflexes for? If it’s for a specific sport, you’re off to a good start. Perhaps you want to be the star goalie at your Thursday afternoon five-a-side, or maybe you have taken up boxing and would prefer not to get hit in the face. The [...]

How 10,000 steps became your goal

Re the “arbitrary figure” of 10,000 steps (G2, 3 September), the number has significance in Japanese culture – 10,000 in Japanese is ichiman, a unit in Japanese mathematics. The standard large currency note is 10,000 yen, the number of years wished at someone’s birthday is 10,000 – and when, more than 50 [...]

Seven ways … to preclude weak bones

Walk quickly for 10 minutes, three times a day Weight-bearing exercise (walking, running) helps to keep bones strong. Ideally, you need a mix of “feet on the ground” activity and muscle resistance such as weights, press-ups and swimming. No one knows precisely how much exercise is needed; the NHS says adults aged [...]

How can I maintain my energy at work?

The energy is in a constant state of flux and you either absorb it or lose it, but you never seem to hold on to it for too long. As is so often the case, the key is to know thyself. If you treat yourself like an ongoing experiment that you want to improve (I’m very much into bio-hacking), then you need to run tests. [...]

Should we all get a health check?

Most health checks are designed to look for risk factors or early signs of diseases – the two most common being heart disease or cancer. A quarter of premature deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) and an estimated 50-80% of them are preventable. So any checks that could help early [...]
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