Snaking queues just to enter an airport, days of waiting to get on a ferry, last-minute cancellations, train strikes. The travel chaos many have experienced so far this summer might put others off the idea of vacationing at all – but I sincerely hope that isn’t the case.
Taking a vacation isn’t just a chance to get away from it all; Studies have uncovered some unexpected benefits, so much so that academics at Australia’s Edith Cowan University published a paper last month arguing that we should think of holidays not as recreation but as ‘travel therapy’.
They say getaways can be particularly beneficial for your brain, as they provide sensory and cognitive stimulation and could be viewed, for example, as an “intervention” for people with dementia, much like exercise or art therapy.
One of the clearest benefits I get from going away is that I sleep better. I usually wake up around 3am, need to go to the bathroom, and then often have trouble falling asleep again. But when I’m on vacation, it’s much easier for me to get off again.
The travel chaos many have experienced so far this summer might put others off the idea of vacationing at all – but I sincerely hope that isn’t the case
And that seems to be pretty common. In a 2006 study in New Zealand, a group of volunteers about to leave were subjected to a series of tests and then asked to wear sleep monitors on their wrists. After a few days on vacation, the researchers found that the volunteers got an average of an hour more good-quality sleep each night compared to a normal night’s sleep. And her mood and reaction time also improved.
On the one hand, that’s probably because after a few days on vacation you feel less stressed (unless, of course, you’ve also lost your luggage…), but it could also be because you’ve slept in a different bed a different environment helps break some of the negative ties bad sleepers have to their beds at home.
Poor sleep can sometimes become like a phobia — you learn to associate going to bed with waking up at 3am and staying awake. The more often this happens, the more likely it is that it will continue.
Being on vacation somewhere else can break through this negative association. And this can remain after your return.
Another important benefit of vacation is the effect it has on your heart. In 2019, researchers at Syracuse University in the US invited 63 people to a lab to have their blood tested. They also filled out details of vacations they had taken in the previous year.
Poor sleep can sometimes become like a phobia — you learn to associate going to bed with waking up at 3am and staying awake. The more often this happens, the more likely it is that it will continue. Being on vacation somewhere else can break through this negative association
Researchers specifically tested for metabolic syndrome, a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high blood fats, and a larger waistline. If you have metabolic syndrome, you are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Among the volunteers, some had taken numerous short breaks, others none.
It turned out that the risk of developing metabolic syndrome fell by almost a quarter with every additional vacation. Bryce Hruska, a mental stress expert who led the study, pointed out that while we don’t yet know why vacations are so good for our hearts, studies clearly show that this is the case.
He added that despite the fact that Americans are typically only allowed to take only 10 days of paid vacation a year, “less than half are using the time available to them.”
This trend also exists in Great Britain. Even before the current travel chaos began, surveys showed that almost one in three British workers were not taking their full holiday entitlement each year due to the pressure of work and fears that more would simply accumulate while they were away. I think that’s a big mistake given the benefits that a break can bring.
But what type of vacation is best for you? While you don’t have to visit a tropical hotspot (I’m holidaying on the south coast of the UK this year), the evidence suggests you should head to the sea.
A study published last year in the journal Scientific Reports, which surveyed more than 16,000 people, found that those who said they had visited the coast in the past month reported higher happiness rates and lower psychological distress than those who did not had. I am not suprised. I love walking by the sea. Just sitting on the beach and listening to the waves puts me in a relaxed state. And this connection that we have with blue spaces goes back tens of thousands of years.
When our ancestors began to spread across the world, they hugged the shore or walked up rivers, staying close to the water. So I can’t help feeling that our love for the sea runs deep.
Wherever you travel this summer, I hope your trip is stress-free, and even if it isn’t, think of the benefits you’ll enjoy once your vacation really begins.
Stop the illegal sale of vaporizers to children
A few years ago I made a documentary about vaping and asked the question: are e-cigarettes a miracle or a threat? I concluded that vaping is less harmful than smoking, but not at all safe if you don’t smoke.
This is why I am concerned about the recent rise in vaping among children.
I have never smoked but as part of the documentary I started vaping for a month to see what effects it would have.
For those who have never tried it, an e-cigarette contains a battery that powers a heating element that turns a liquid containing nicotine and flavorings into vapor, which you then inhale. There is no burn and therefore fewer harmful chemicals than traditional cigarettes.
I coughed a lot at first, but after a while I started enjoying the “hit,” which felt similar to a cup of strong coffee. I had no cravings and after a month I was glad to quit.
A few years ago I made a documentary about vaping and asked the question: are e-cigarettes a miracle or a threat? I concluded that vaping is less harmful than smoking, but not at all safe if you don’t smoke
Although there were signs of increased inflammation in my lungs, these quickly disappeared when I stopped the experiment. After speaking to many scientists, I came to the conclusion that vaping is much safer than smoking and probably does more good than harm as the devices can help people quit smoking.
But I had underestimated the growing power of social media. In the UK it is illegal to sell vapes to under 18s and there are strict rules on how they can be advertised.
Still, a recent YouGov survey of 11-17 year olds found that the number of regular vapers nearly doubled in the past two years, from 4 percent in 2020 to 7 percent in 2022. The proportion of kids who admitted of having tried vaping also increased from 14 percent to 16 percent.
And the biggest impact? social media. Almost half said they started after watching vape videos on TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat.
The only good news was that the smoking rate among children has decreased over this period.
It really is time the government enforced the existing laws and cracked down on the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to children.
If you have hay fever, are the symptoms longer this year?
I’m allergic to grass pollen, but I usually stopped sneezing in July. But this year I’m still there.
Some scientists believe that the extended season could be due to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or that we are exposed to more air pollution, which can increase the allergic reaction. Anyway, it looks like I’ll have to carry my antihistamine pills around a little longer.
Why life is sweeter with less sugar
If I could go back in time and give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to take better care of my teeth.
After another visit to the dentist, I can now look forward to further root canal treatments. To avoid this, I would advise my former self to limit fizzy drinks and fruit juices and eat my sweets all at once, not spread out throughout the day. This would give my tooth enamel a better chance of surviving as the bacteria in my mouth convert sugar into acid.
I would also suggest substituting some of the candy for sugar-free gum with xylitol, which has an antimicrobial effect and creates saliva to wash away the acid. And I would warn him about dried fruit, which is high in sugar and sticks to your teeth, and the dangers to tooth enamel from eating chips, which turn into sugar and acid in your mouth.
I would advise him to floss, brush his teeth twice a day and get regular check-ups to catch tooth decay early.
If the younger Michael had done all this, the older Michael would have been spared a lot of pain and expense.
I would advise him to floss, brush his teeth twice a day and get regular check-ups to catch tooth decay early
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/dr-michael-mosley-a-holiday-is-more-than-just-a-break-it-can-do-wonders-for-your-heart/ DR. MICHAEL MOSLEY: A vacation is more than just a break…it can do wonders for your heart