More Sleep May Be The Secret To Staying Slim

The Ghrelin Gremlin

More Sleep May Be The Secret To Staying Slim

Hoping to take your belt down a notch or two in time for the great summer reveal? The secret to losing a few nagging pounds might be in your bed. Literally. 

Research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions suggests that lack of sleep may lead to weight gain, even obesity.

"We tested whether lack of sleep altered the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, increased the amount of food people ate, and affected energy burned through activity," said Dr. Virend Somers, lead author of the study and professor of medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.. 

Of the small sample of healthy young men and women, half slept 'normally' while the other slept for only two-thirds their normal time. All participants ate whatever they liked during the trials. Those who were sleep-deprived group—having slept an hour and 20 minutes less than the control group each day—ended up consuming an average of 549 additional calories each day.

There was no change in activity level between the two groups, despite one group consuming more calories. The study suggests that the lack of sleep caused an increase in leptin and a decrease in ghrelin.

"Sleep deprivation is a growing problem, with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night," said Dr. Andrew D. Calvin, study author, cardiology fellow, and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Do you tend to eat more (or more absentmindedly) when you're tired? How much sleep do you get per night on average? Here are some tips on how to get more. Your waistline will thank you. 


Domestic Goddesses Could Be a Dying Breed


Domestic Goddesses Could Be a Dying Breed

Our moms, and their moms, are a dying breed, it seems.  All those traditional Home Ec skills, so prized and unthinkingly learned, are fast becoming extinct to today's busy mom. What were formerly 'momrequisites'—such as baking, making pastry and jam, knitting, and altering clothes—aren't as common as they once were.   

Although many moms today wished they have their foremothers' domestic talents, few have the time or patience to learn them.  So says a UK-based study by oven manufacturers Neff, whose Bake It Yourself campaign targeted 1,000 moms under 35, and 1,000 over 45.

"We know that modern mums are under different pressures today compared with 40 years ago.  As a result, many mothers find it difficult to do some of the daily tasks their own mothers may have done," said Neff spokeswoman Sue Flowers. "However, our research has shown that many do want to learn how to do these things and feel as passionate as we do about ensuring skills such as baking and sewing don’t die out."

Our grandmothers would be ashamed to learn of that the majority of us can't do things like starch a shift, make a gravy, sew name tags on our kids' clothes, or rustle up a Victoria sponge cake. 

Fortunately, the tide is changing, as many moms take an interest in learning these traditional skills, even just as a hobby, after their children are born.

Admittedly, the over-45ers fared better than those under 35. Ms. Flowers stressed the importance of such skills to be handed down from one older generation of women to another.

"We all like to rely on our mom for help and advice, which is why it’s such a shame that younger moms today find themselves too busy to enjoy time spent baking with their children and other traditional tasks."

Courtesy of the Daily Mail, here goes the litany of things most of us modern moms can 'no longer do':  


                                                   UNDER 35s            OVER 45s

Bake a Victoria sponge                43 per cent             17 per cent
Make pastry from scratch            66 per cent             26 per cent
Knit                                             77 per cent             33 per cent
Sew                                             51 per cent             25 per cent
Make jam                                     81 per cent             57 per cent
Arrange flowers                            68 per cent             49 per cent
Starch a shirt                                88 per cent             62 per cent
Sew name tags in to clothes          52 per cent             16 per cent
Darn socks                                    85 per cent             59 per cent
Make a fancy dress costume          83 per cent             66 per cent
Bake bread                                    76 per cent             54 per cent
Sew on a button                            48 per cent             12 per cent
Make curtains                                90 per cent             60 per cent
Make gravy from scratch                75 per cent             38 per cent
Bake a pie                                      62 per cent             25 per cent

Do you feel you're missing out, or is this list outmoded? What domestic tasks do you wish you could learn to do at home?  




Life's No Pageant for Child Models

French Senator Wants Ban

Life's No Pageant for Child Models

Ok, so child modelling isn't all the creepy shellacked hairdos and fake eyelashes of the TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras.  But is pageantry actually good for young girls who are increasingly sexualized?  

French senator doesn't think so and hopes to ban such beauty pageants and sexualized clothing for tykes, which she sees as a step backwards for gender equality.  Really, do we want to send little girls the message early on that their intrinsic value comes from looking pretty?

Chantal Jouanno wrote in a parliamentary report that dressing children as “sexual candy” is “contrary to the dignity of the human being.” Jouanno also hopes to prohibit advertising agencies from using child models under the age of 16, and to ban padded bras and high-heeled shoes for girls.

So much for the stereotype of the sultry French.  The government report came after the international outcry over Vogue Paris’s provocative photo shoot of 10-year-old model Thylane Loubry Blondeau in heavy makeup, jewels and stiletto shoes—a shoot that Thylane's own mother didn't even oppose.

“The only thing that shocks me about the photo is that the necklace she is wearing is worth three million euros…my daughter isn’t naked, let’s not blow things out of proportion.” 

Sadly, many of the little girls involved in pageantry are spurred on by their mothers, who wish to live vicariously through their children. Mirror, mirror, who's the fairest of them all?  Let little girls be girls.  The pressure to be thin and sexy is monumental, and it comes early on for today's children.  

Do we really want to be the ones imposing the very beauty ideals that enslave us as women?  Isn't it our role to protect our girls—and give them the tools to love themselves in spite of the media's overarching influence—for as long as possible?