Tag Archives: Heartbeat

It’s Gotta Be Juuuuusssstttt Right

by Richard

So, there I was, sitting in my chair, facing the television, when I realized I had no idea what was going on up there and I’d reread the same page in the book at least four times. I was tired.

I toddled off to bed, secure in the knowledge that I surely would be getting enough sleep to feel rested and refreshed the next day. That was around midnight and I had to get up before 7 am the next day. Thinking back, no, I wasn’t getting enough sleep.

Turns out, that’s not a good thing. Especially if you do it on a consistent basis. Keep cutting yourself short in the zzzzzz department and you’re going to be no good to yourself, no good to your sigot and definitely no good to the little dudes and dudettes running around the house. And it’s not just about mood, either.

Sleep is the critical element that allows you to attain success in your peak performance, weight loss and longevity goals. No matter how clean you eat or how often you exercise, if you’re chronically sleep-deprived and stressed, or if you’re not getting regular quality sleep, you’re sabotaging your efforts.

Sleep deprivation has profound effects on hormones that control metabolism, appetite, mood, concentration, memory retention, and cravings. It is associated with high blood pressure, elevated stress hormone levels, irregular heartbeat, and compromised immune function, and it drastically increases your risk for obesity and heart disease. Results from the 2004-2006 U.S. National Health Interview Survey indicated that adults who usually slept less than six hours were much more likely to smoke, drink more than five glasses of alcohol, not exercise, and be obese. Interestingly, adults who slept more than nine hours also engaged in these unhealthy behaviors.

But the question rises, then, why is a lack of sleep bad for us? Just as we need to know: Why is too much sleep bad for us?

We’re not really sure about it. Sorry. But here’s a bit about what’s going on. Your body has a lot of cryptochromes, a lot of very ancient proteins concentrated in your eyes and skin. They are sensitive to the blues of dawn and dusk. When stimulated, they signal the body to stop producing serotonin, which has been keeping you going all day, and produce, instead, melatonin, which helps you get a good night’s sleep. In the morning, the pineal gland reverses the process, thanks to the cryptochromes.

That’s your natural sleep rhythm. You know what really disrupts this cycle? Artificial lights. Seems that being exposed to a lot of that will disrupt the way your body balances serotonin and melatonin.

So, here’s a bit of an idea. About 30 minutes or so before you go to bed, try lowering the light levels in your room. Get your body used to the change between daylight and night. Don’t make it as sudden as flicking a switch.

You never know. You might actually feel good in the morning. Sure, that’ll be different, but sometimes different is good.



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Bouncing Back Into The Nest

by Richard

No, I’m not done editing the book. Not by a long shot. What I am done with is whining about it. So, step back. I’m climbing back into the saddle and gonna start blabbing again. So there.

Saw an interesting stat the other day. Interesting as in, I started sweating and my heartbeat raced up into the danger levels and I started swaying back and forth as my lungs labored to bring oxygen to my shock-starved brain. Yeah, that kind of interesting.

According to the latest statistics, more than a million members of the Class of 2008 have come back home to live with mom and dad.


The Class of 2008, born during the historic bull market that closed the past century, reached a dubious distinction last year: More than a million of the college graduates have gone back home.

The number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped almost 46 percent since 2007, according to Census Bureau data compiled by the University of Minnesota Population Center. Last year, the number of 18- to 30-year-olds living with their parents grew to 20.7 million, a 3.9 percent gain from 2010.

The figures underscore the difficulty that millions of young people have had in finding jobs and starting careers in the U.S. following the longest recession since the Great Depression. About a quarter of American adults between the ages of 18 and 30 now live with parents, while intergenerational households have reached the highest level in more than 50 years.

If you’re smart, you’ll just hit that website link there and try to only read the interesting bits about the kids moving home and try to avoid the clumsy politicking the writer gets into there.

Anyway, I’m not sure this is a good trend. I mean, yeah, I think it’s good that people can have a relationship with their parents that extends after high school, but I think it’s all too easy to fall back into old habits and patterns of rebellious teen and dictatorial parents. I know when Sarcasmo went off to try his hand at college and then returned home, it was an even bigger kerfluffle than before. He kept insisting that he be treated as an adult and could do what he wanted when he wanted.

That did not turn out well. And, it could be that we did not have a unique experience.

About a third of adults 18 to 34 who live with a parent said the move has been good for the relationship, according to a March report by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project in Washington. Only 18 percent said the move had caused relationships with their parents to deteriorate.

More than 60 percent of adults 25 to 34 know friends or family members who have moved back with their parents in the past few years because of economic conditions, according to the Pew report. It cited a December telephone poll of 2,048 adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Still, economic realities might just be crashing into issues of privacy and autonomy. That is, if your young dude can’t find a job, there might be no better place to go than home. Though, one thing I’m quite certain of, should we get another boomerang kid, just like we did before, we’re going to insist on getting paid a rent.

We love our boys and want them to have a good life, but we need to realize that we as parents have lives of our own as well.

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Freaky Friday: The BioDigital Human

by Richard

The human body is an amazing piece of meat machinery, no question about it. Also? It’s sort of icky. Especially if you’re one of the dudes trying to get a look at the stuff inside the skin wrapping. It’s slippery, bloody, goopy and, sometimes, pretty darn smelly.

Could be one of the big reasons some folks decide doctorin’ isn’t their real professional choice. They need something with a bit smaller squick factor. Like say, roadkill collector. You know, as you do.


If you’re still interested in the human body and how it works and where the various bits are, but you don’t want to be elbows deep in an undecipherable mess of gunk, and those pictures in various textbooks just don’t cut it, well, I’ve got some very good information for you.

Get ready for the BioDigital Human. This, dudes, is an amazingly cool site.

What it offers is an astonishingly clear three-dimensional image of the human body, broken down into various systems. That is, you can start with the skeletal system and have a rotatable 3-D image of a skeleton. Add in the endocrine system and various glands start showing up. Then you can add in the digestive system and *paf* you’ve got your intestines of varying lengths, the stomach, the tongue, mouth, esophagus, etc. etc.

This is very cool. I’ve been playing around with the site for a couple of days now and, just noodling around there, I feel like I’ve got a much better idea of how different bodily systems work with each other. And I wasn’t even trying that hard. I just picked it up. In addition to the systems, you also can include various conditions, like a normal heartbeat or a heart beating with atrial fibrillation and, suddenly, there’s a beating heart sitting there in the chest.

My favorite view so far is the skeletal system combined with the nervous system because then I’ve got an image of a skeleton with eyeballs sticking from a desiccated, bony face, grinning with teeth that are far too big. It’s creepy. But not as creepy as what we get when we take away the skeletal system. A walking nervous system with nothing else to keep it upright.

I think what makes this so very cool is that it isn’t played for gasps or laughs. It’s completely straight, as it should be, not even trying to be amazing. The site just lays it out there. And darned if the human body on its very ownself doesn’t just knock this out of the park.

This is a fantastic site that you need to sit down and explore with your young dudes and dudettes for a couple of hours. Not only is it a great learning tool, but it’s also a fantastic conversation starter.

“Daddy,” your young dudette asks, “what’s that long thing hanging down between his legs?”

Or your young dude could ask why there’s all this stuff on top of the woman’s skeletal chest and it’s not there on the man’s chest.

Dude, those are some supremely teachable moments right there. They provide the perfect opportunity for you to get into a great discussion with the young dude and young dudette about the human body. Maybe when it’s not so mysterious and strange, there won’t be such a big urge to explore it. But that’s a different post.

For now, get out there to the BioDigital Human and start learning and have fun while you’re doing it.

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