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  11:59:28 am, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most States Won't Make Exchange Deadline, Former HHS Head Says

A former Health and Human Services Secretary secretary thinks that most states will likely miss the 2014 deadline to establish health insurance exchanges. Speaking to Kaiser Health News, Michael O. Leavitt observed that as many state legislatives are concluding their 2011 sessions, “I don’t know any that are far along” on implementing exchanges. “If you count back from 2014, the clock is running out.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, states are required to have the web-based insurance marketplaces operational by 2014. States also have the option of implementing a federally-created exchange – an option that may be forced upon states that miss the deadline, though Leavitt doubts it would come to that.

Currently, only Massachusetts and Utah have exchanges in place. While overall progress has been slow, Leavitt believes that states will continue to move forward with exhanges, even if the health care reform law should be struck down by the courts. He says states recognize that exchanges give individuals and small businesses better buying power.

Leavitt served as HHS secretary in the George W. Bush administration and now runs a health care consulting company.

  10:21:43 am, by MedBen5   , 261 words,  
Categories: Wellness

What's Behind Job Stress -- And What To Do About It

Jobs and stress… at times, the two seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly (or tainted jelly, which would make the analogy more logical). A recent WebMD feature looked at stress in the workplace and what employees can do it bring the anxiety down a notch.

In the American Psychological Association’s 2010 Stress in America Survey, work came second only to money worries as the top contributor to stress. Not surprisingly, 40+ hours a week of job stress does a number on the body, raising blood pressure, heart rate and cholesteral levels. In extreme cases, it can even bring on heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. And job stress tends to reduce one’s attentiveness to healthful lifestyle choices.

Typically, the responsbilities of the job itself are sufficient to increase anxiety. But strained relationships with co-workers or superiors may contribute, as can jobs with concentrated periods of high pressure (i.e., police officers or firefighters) or frequent time changes (day shift to night shift).

The best defense against job stress is to just not let it get to you – of course, that’s easier said than done for most people. If you lack a let-things-roll-off-your-back personality, you’ll have to work at it a bit.

Get into the habit of countering stress through such reduction techniques as cardiovascular exercises (running, biking, or brisk walking) or streching activities (yoga, massage or meditation). Make relaxation time part of the daily routine. And if a co-workers prove too difficult to handle, speak to your boss about putting some cubicle distance between the two of you.


  05:17:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Government Modifies Insurance Appeal Rules

Kaiser Health News reports that the Department of Health and Human Services will scale back health insurance appeal rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While group and individual health plan participants still maintain the right to appeal the denial of coverage to an independent review panel, the new rules will give beneficiaries less time to prepare an appeal – 60 days, instead of 120 – and limit what type of denials can be challenged.

Other consumer protections in the health reform law remain unchanged. Patients may still appeal if insurers cancel their coverage, and any decisions by external review panels are binding. Additionally, some appeals limitations may be removed in 2014 when other ACA consumer protection provisions take effect.

For most MedBen clients, these rule changes will have little impact on their appeal rights. Prior to health care reform passage in 2010, MedBen already had extensive protections in place for fully-insured groups in Ohio and all self-funded public employer plans in Ohio and Kentucky – protections similar to those found in the ACA. For other states, we will seamlessly adapt their procedurals by drawing in our experience working with various external review entities.

MedBen clients with questions regarding the appeals process may contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at (800) 851-0907.

  04:03:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Soda In The News

For whatever reason – the warm weather, an upswing in picnicking, a sudden fascination with carbonated beverages – articles about soda have been all over the newswires these days. Here are just a few that caught our interest:

  • The Yahoo! Shine health living website has some tough love for people who drink soda every day. By routinely indulging in the caffeine high, the site warns that people put themself at greater risk for added weight, diabetes, and heart disease, according to various studies. You’re also likely to be less healthy in general, regardless if you drink regular or diet sodas.
  • Medical News Today reports that one-quarter of American high school students drink at least one soda every day, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. On its face, that doesn’t sound too bad, but when Gatorade and other sweetened drinks are factored in, the number leaps to two-thirds of teens who reporting having a sugary beverage daily. The percentages have seen a decline over the past decade, however.
  • The American Medical Association has toyed with the idea of supporting a tax on sugar-sweeted soft drinks, but isn’t ready to commit quite yet, The Chicago Tribune reports. At its annual meeting, the AMA debated taxation as a means of combating obesity while better educating the public. But some doctors want to broaden the tax to include juices, sugars and artificial sweeteners, while others are opposed to “sin taxes". Ultimately, it was decided that further study was needed.


  12:00:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 133 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Supreme Court Rules Against Rx Data Mining Limits

The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot restrict drugmakers’ access to information about what medicines doctors like to prescribe.

In a 6-3 vote, the court struck down a Vermont data-mining law designed to promote generic drug use by controlling the flow of information about brand-name medications. Under the law, doctors’ prescribing history could not be sold without their permission.

Data mining companies buy prescription information, minus patient names, from pharmacies. In turn, the companies sell the information to drug manufacturers, whose sales representatives use the information to pitch medicines to individual doctors.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Vermont law violates the speech rights of data-mining and pharmaceutical companies, while dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer argued the law should have been upheld as a constitutional regulation of business activity.

  11:15:26 am, by MedBen5   , 255 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Want To Keep Weight Off? Say 'Yea' To Nuts, 'Nay' To Taters

A federally funded analysis of 20+ years of data has revealed how certain foods affect weight gain over an extended period, The Washington Post reports. In reviewing information gathered from over 120,000 men and women in their 30’s, 40s and 50s, Harvard researchers concluded that some foods clearly cause people to put on more weight than other – and chemical content, not calorie amount, may account for the disparity.

“The conventional wisdom is simply, ‘Eat everything in moderation and just reduce total calories’ without paying attention to what those calories are made of,” said study leader Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard School of Public Health. “All foods are not equal, and just eating in moderation is not enough.”

A Medical News Today story on the Harvard study identifies the five foods the researchers linked with the greatest weight gain:

  • Potato chips accounted for +1.69 lbs of the 3.35 lbs average weight gain every 4 years.
  • Other potatoes accounted for +1.28 lbs.
  • Sugary drinks: +1.00 lbs.
  • Unprocessed meats: +0.95 lbs.
  • Processed meats: +0.93 lbs.

The five foods associated with reduced weight gain (or even weight loss) include:

  • Vegetables: accounted for -0.22 lbs (that is, a reduction) in the 3.35 lbs average weight gain every 4 years.
  • Whole grains accounted for -0.37 lbs.
  • Fruits: -0.49 lbs.
  • Nuts: -0.57 lbs.
  • Yogurt: -0.82 lbs

Other than perhaps yogurt, the two lists contain no real surprises. But they do highlight that’s it what you eat, not how much, that matters when it comes to gaining and losing weight. Of course, exercise, sleep habits and lifestyle choices also play a vital role.


  05:14:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Health Exchanges Will Suffer From Excess Regulations

A Guest Opinion piece on the Kaiser Health News website asserts that the health insurance exchanges, which are to be established under the Affordable Care Act by 2014, will have a tough go of it. Not because the idea is bad or unpopular, but because government bureaucracy will inevitably drive up health care costs even further.

Writers Paul Howard and Stephen T. Parente say the the idea of setting up websites where consumers and small businesses can easily compare insurance options is a sound one, in principle. The exchange concept has been endorsed on both sides of the political spectrum and will, in theory, spark competition between insurers to keep costs in check. So what’s the problem? As Howard and Parente see it:

“The health law, however, takes this simple idea and makes it extraordinarily complicated – if not impossible – to execute. By adding a litany of new minimum-insurance requirements and regulations to the original bipartisan idea, health insurance purchased through an exchange will likely end up more expensive than it is now.

“For instance, mandates on the minimum share of health care costs that insurers must cover for all plans, along with a richer new federal ‘essential benefits’ package, will drive up insurance costs for individuals and small businesses. Federal premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies on the exchanges will also ‘bid up’ premiums as individuals gravitate toward more expensive coverage.”

Read the rest of their comments here.

  12:22:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 337 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Show Your Doctor How Smart You Are! recently asked a group of physicians about things that patients do to mess up their own care. Here is a summary of their top responses – “10 dumb things you do at the doc’s office“.

  1. You talk on your cell phone. Turn the thing off.
  2. You lie. “I need to treat you the best way I can, so if you’re gay, tell me. If you drink a bottle of tequila every night, I need to know,” says Dr. Lissa Rankin, a gynecologist.
  3. You do a sloppy job describing your pain. “You should describe the exact location, how intense the pain was, what provoked it and how long it lasted,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, director of the New York University Women’s Heart Program.
  4. You don’t state up front all the reasons for your visit. State every concern at the beginning of the appointment so your doctor can plan your visit efficiently, advises Dr. Howard Beckman, an internist.
  5. You don’t state up front your expectations for your visit. If you have certain hopes, say so.
  6. You don’t know what medications you’re taking. “Patients should bring a list of medications they’re actually taking, not what they believe they are supposed to be taking, or what they think I want them to take,” Beckman advises.
  7. You leave with unspoken questions and concerns. If a question’s in your head, ask it.
  8. You don’t bring your medical records or images with you. Unless you absolutely, positively know your doctor has your records and images from another office, bring them with you.
  9. You’re too scared to disagree with your doctor. If your doctor suggests you need an antidepressant and you don’t want to take it, say so.
  10. You don’t comply with the treatment plan. If you’ve followed all the advice above, you should have a treatment plan that makes sense to you and one you’re able to execute.

Oh, and you’re interested in how patients feel about these “dumb things", the Mind the Gap blog has compiled feedback to the article.

  11:26:12 am, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Fuel Your Summer With Energy-Packed Foods

Just because the weather’s nice and the sun’s out longer doesn’t mean you can’t use a “pick-me-up” now and again. And we’re not speaking of floral bouquets or distilled spirits here – we mean nutritious foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. USA Today offers some advice from dietary experts about foods that can give you a healthy boost.

Registered dietitian Ellie Krieger recommends that rather than worrying about calories, focus on “four or five high-energy snacks’’ with the emphasis on “healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables and whole grains.” Her energy-packed suggestions include shrimp, almonds, kale and hard-boiled eggs.

Jim White, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association, recommends eating five mini-meals a day, including “vital” mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. His preferences include whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese, celery and natural peanut butter, hummus and baby carrots, or fruit with Greek yogurt – “a power food.”

Dietitian Joy Dubost is big on breakfast. After a long night of sleep, “you’re going to be running low and have got to refuel,” she says. Whole-grain cereal or bread, fruit or eggs, and soy or low-fat milk as a calcium source are among her morning foods of choice.


  06:02:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Early Detection Among Reasons For Decline In Cancer Deaths

Cancer deaths have been on the decline in the past two decades, according to the American Cancer Society. HealthDay reports that between 1990 and 2007, nearly 900,000 fewer people succumbed to the disease – 22% fewer men and 14% fewer women.

Ahmedin Jemal, strategic director of cancer surveillance at the American Cancer Society, noted that a drop in smoking rates contributed to the reduced number of deaths. Also key to the higher survival rates are early detection and better treatments, said Dr. Iuliana Shapira, director of cancer genetics at Monter Cancer Center, who was not involved in the society’s report. “More people are living with cancer… We are doing better than we did,” she said.

The MedBen Worksite Wellness program promotes early detection of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Early intervention can significantly improve health and lower health care costs. Many of the most costly and deadly illnesses are either preventable through education and lifestyle change, or curable with early detection. MedBen Worksite Wellness incorporates a multi-level approach, using both preventive care from family doctors and speciality treatment, to provide the best results possible.

To learn more about the benefits of early disease detection through worksite wellness, please call MedBen Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

  11:23:24 am, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

AMA Reaffirms Individual Mandate Support

The American Medical Association (AMA) has confirmed its approval of requiring most Americans to carry health insurance, though not without vocal criticism from some members, CBS News reports.

At its annual meeting in Chicago, two-thirds of the House of Delegates voted to maintain its official position in favor of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act. The 500-member House sets policy for the AMA.

“The AMA has strong policy in support of covering the uninsured, and we have renewed our commitment to achieving this through individual responsibility for health insurance with assistance for those who need it,” Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the AMA, said in a statement.

Among those who oppose the mandate was Dr. Bruce Malone, president of the Texas Medical Association, who believes the lack of consensus on the mandate will weaken the AMA. “Some people who strongly support the idea of ‘no mandate’ may drop their membership with the American Medical Association,” he said. The AMA has seen a 5% decrease in membership over the past two years, though it’s unclear if the decline is related to mandate support.

A Wall Street Journal article on the vote noted that dissenters encouraged the AMA to support individual tax breaks to encourage people to carry insurance.

  10:52:12 am, by MedBen5   , 286 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Speed Up Metabolism By Correcting Workout Mistakes

One of the more irksome things about losing weight is when you “hit a wall” – regardless of how strenously you exercise, your weight just stays where it is. To some degree this can be a positive, because it may be a result of fat converting to muscle, which weighs more. But it can also be a sign that your metabolism is slowing – not a good thing when you’re trying to drop the pounds.

Cool Health Tips highlights three ways people waste their workouts, and what they can do to correct these mistakes:

MISTAKE: Getting into a rut. Your mind, body and muscles get bored if you do the same exercise every day. If you don’t challenge yourself, you’ll stop seeing results.
CORRECTION: Change it up. Try new exercises on a regular basis. Instead of doing a simple walk, go hiking on the weekends. Or ditch the Nautilus machines for free weights and squats.

MISTAKE: Not balancing your workouts. People trying to lose weight often focus on cardiovascular activities to the exclusion of resistance training, under the false logic that lifting weights builds muscles but doesn’t aid in weight loss.
CORRECTION: Grab a dumbbell. Having muscles are a good thing – they burn calories between workouts and speed up your metabolism. And resistance training actually helps you lose stubborn fats.

MISTAKE: Sticking to the “Weight Loss” setting. Many cardio machines have a “Fat Burning Zone” option that allows you to burn fats stored for fuel, and do so at lower intensities. But these workouts ultimately do little to burn calories.
CORRECTION: Step it up. You can burn more calories by increasing your overall effort, through short intervals of higher intensity followed by a slower recovery.


  02:52:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

HSAs Better Than HRAs? Not Necessarily

On his Health Policy Blog, John Goodman recently compared the advantages of HSAs and HRAs. Given that his blog masthead describes Goodman as the “Father of Health Savings Accounts", it isn’t too surprising that he comes down in favor of HSAs, observing that as HSA funds belong solely to the employee – HRAs are employer-funded and can’t be transferred when a participant switches companies – the incentive is that much stronger to make judicious medical spending decisions.

That’s a valid point. But in defense of HRAs, we’ll point out that while employers are not obligated to roll over HRA funds from year to year, many do just that. Accumulated HRA funds can be saved toward retirement, so participants still have the incentive to spend intelligently. And that’s in addition to ensuring that funds are available should they be needed for major medical care down the road.

The point we wish to stress is that both HSAs and HRAs have their plusses and minuses – it ultimately comes down to what’s best for the employer and the employee. MedBen will workly closely with your group to determine which consumer-driven approach works most effectively with your group health plan.

For additional information about MedBen HRAs, HSAs and other consumer-driven options, we invite employers to contact Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

  12:13:24 pm, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: Wellness

The Question Of Patient Responsibility

Stephen Wilkins, MPH, host of the Mind the Gap website, recently posed the question: Where does the patient’s responsibility for their health begin?

Wilkins bases his question on the experience of his 89 year-old mother, who died following a spine fracture. Apparently, she had severe osteoarthritis for a prolonged period, but it was never detected, even though she had regular checkups. He feels his mom’s primary care physician should have informed her about her condition; his wife disagrees, saying that his mom should have been aware of the fact that older women commonly experience bone loss.

Wilkins’ take is that while he agrees patients should rake more responsibility for their health, they shouldn’t be expected to know the minutiae of osteoarthritis (i.e., may cause spine fractures) and other conditions. And if physicians do expect it from their patients, they should be told as such. “Patients need to be taught what they need to know and what they need to do,” Wilkins states.

In general, we concur with Wilkin’s feelings on the matter: no layman should be expected to have in-depth knowledge of medical conditions. But it is definitely the responsibility of patients to keep their doctors informed about any physical problems they may be experiencing, however trivial – because the minor symptoms may add up to something major.

  11:23:21 am, by MedBen5   , 197 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Higher TV Viewing Times Raise Diabetes, Early Death Risks

When mom warned, “Too much television is bad for you,” she apparently knew of what she spoke. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that people who watch lots of TV show an increased risk of diabetes, heart problems and early death, AFP reports.

Reviewing 40 years of published studies, the researchers concluded that more than two hours of daily TV watching boosted the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while three hours a day increased a person’s risk of dying prematurely. Every two-hour increase in viewing boosted the risk of diabetes by 20%; cardiovascular disease, 15%; and overall death risk, 13%.

In a Reuters story on the study, Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard noted that who sit in front of the TV are not only not exercising, they are likely eating unhealthy foods. “The combination of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and obesity creates a ‘perfect breeding ground’ for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”

None of the eight studies analyzed included people with chronic diseases, who were more likely to get sicker regardless of TV viewing patterns. Dr. Hu did caution, however, that some participants may have had undetected illnesses at the outset of the studies.


  12:13:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 296 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Doctors Advised To Think Conservative When Prescribing Drugs

The Archives of Internal Medicine has published an article advising physicians take a more conservative approach to prescribing medications, Medical News Today reports. Most patients under age 65, the article notes, receive at least one prescription a year – a number the authors say is too high considering the potential and unexpected adverse effects of some drugs.

Gordon D. Schiff, M.D., from Harvard Medical School, and colleagues write, “we believe that the term conservative prescribing conveys an approach that goes beyond the oft-repeated physician’s mantra, ‘first, do no harm.’” They also outline a series of steps doctors should follow to rein in excessive prescribing, including:

  • Think beyond drugs. Would other interventions help? Can a condition be prevented instead of treated?
  • Practice more strategic prescribing. Is there a valid reason to switch to a new drug? Can you avoid using multiple medications?
  • Maintain heightened vigilance regarding adverse effects. Do you check with patients about potential drug reactions? Do you teach them the warning signs?
  • Approach new drugs and new indications cautiously and skeptically. Can you wait until a new drug has had a longer track record? Does the drug actually help resolve the core problem?
  • Work with patients for a more deliberative shared agenda. Can you persuade patients not to demand drugs they have seen or heard advertised? Is a patient’s noncompliance with therapy the source of the problem?
  • Consider longer-term, broader effects. Would a different therapy be less likely to cause future harm? Can you find a way to make the prescribing system better?

While the article is directed at doctors, its usefulness goes further than that. Some of the suggested questions can just as easily be asked of doctors by their patients, who, after all, bear the possible consequences of improper or unnecessary prescribing.

  10:47:41 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Here Comes The Sun...screen Standards

Strike “sunblock” from your skin care vocabulary. The FDA has announced that that word, as well as “waterproof” and “sweatproof” exaggerate a sunscreen’s virtues, MedPage Today reports.

The FDA has established new standards for suncreen labels. Nost notably, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 and up that offers protection against UVA and UVB rays can make the claim that it “will help prevent sunburn, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and reduce the risk of early skin aging,” provided it is used as directed and in combination with other sun protection measures, such as avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun and wearing clothing that covers the body.

A sunscreen label can also use the phrase “Broad Spectrum” to indicate its UVA and UVB protection abilities if it meets FDA critieria.

While the FDA says an SPF 15 is sufficient for sun protection, the American Academy of Dermatology disagrees, recommending no less than an SPF 30. Janet Woodcock, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, argues that SPF 15 blocks out 93% of harmful rays, and higher SPFs don’t offer significantly higher protection. As for even higher SPFs, the FDA has issued a proposed rule that sunscreen manfacturers cannot claim that their product offers anything higher than 50 SPF protection, as data shows that high protection factors doesn’t work any better.


  04:54:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 275 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Going "Retail" For Child Care Not A Wise Option

In a recent blog post, Roy Benaroch, MD had a few unkind words to say about retail clinics – the medical kiosks popping up in drug stores and grocery stores – that offer pediatric care:

“Everyone knows that if you’re looking for good, wholesome food, you ought to stay away from McWendyKing. If you want good pediatric care, you ought to stay away from these quickie retail clinics, too. They’re the ‘fast food’ of health care providers, offering exactly what your children don’t need.”

Dr. Benaroch feels that retail clinics do not and cannot offer the level of care provided by a pediatrician who works in an office or other standing medical facility. To do a good job, he says, the doctor has to really know the history of the child based on regular checkups and patient feedback. No such opportunity exists at retail clinics, given their “quick toss-off” nature. Moreover, the providers sometimes have minimal pediatric experience and, given their proximity to the store’s pharmacy, brings up a potential conflict of interest issue.

Of course, retail clinics usually provide care to adults as well as children, so Dr. Benaroch’s comments also carry weight for grown-ups.

At MedBen, we typically don’t include retail clinics in our provider networks. Not because we doubt the abilities of the practicitioners who provide treatment at such places, but because we agree with Dr. Benaroch on his primary point – the most effective care comes from a provider with whom the patient has an ongoing professional relationship. A doctor who has first-hand knowledge of your medical history plays a vital role in your long-term health.

  01:14:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 267 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Health Care Spending And The Out-Of-Pocket Factor

Last week, we touched on a Washington Post article by columnist Ezra Klein. He spotlighted a graph from a Kaiser Family Foundation report which showed that the United States government spends more on health care (as a percentage of GDP) than many countries where health care is fully or mostly socialized. And when the private sector is factored in, he noted that about 16% of our GDP is spent on health care – the highest percentage among developed nations.

Commenting on the article, blogger Greg Scandlen says that Klein fails to tell the whole story. He cites a second graph (below) from the same Kaiser report, this one showing out-of-pocket and private health spending as a share of total expenditures on health:

out-of-pocket and private health spending as a share of total expenditures on health

“As the graph shows, one of the unique characteristics of American health care is that we spend so little out-of-pocket as a percentage of total spending. Americans spend only 13% of our total health care spending directly out-of-pocket, as compared to [the report’s] average of 20%. We spend a smaller portion directly than Canadians (15%), the Swiss (31%), the Italians (20%), the Belgians (22%), the Australians (20%), the Japanese (17%) and many others. In fact, the only countries that spend less than we do are France (7%), Luxembourg (7%), and the Netherlands (8%).

“Mr. Klein might then want to consider that part of the reason we have more health care inflation than many other countries is because we spend so little of it directly. Most Americans have no idea what their consumption decisions actually cost.It might come as a shock to Mr. Klein, but people tend to consume more when someone else is paying the bill.”

  11:55:04 am, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Good Sleep Habits Improves Quality Of Life, Reduces Depression

Medical News Today reports that getting six to nine hours of sleep every night positively influences people’s moods and how they judge their quality of life, according to a new study. Getting too little sleep can have a negative effect, the researchers found – but somewhat surprisingly, so can getting too much.

Study participants who regularly slept “normal” durations of six to nine hours rated their quality of life high and depression severity low, compated to short or long sleepers. Noteworthy was that, among people who reported having perfect health regardless of sleep habits, those who slept normal hours had significantly lower scores for depression severity than short or long sleepers.

On this blog, we’ve already noted several studies that demonstrate the importance of sleep – and realize that, in doing so, we run the risk of sounding like a broken record (or corrupted MP3 file, for you younger audiophiles). But it bears repeating – good sleep habits form the foundation of personal wellness and everything that derives from it. Diet and exercise regimens, stamina, mood, work patterns, leisure activities, appearance, self-image – all these and more are affected by how many hours of rest we allow ourselves.

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