For most humans, sleep would seem as natural as walking or breathing. After all, babies sleep an average of 16 hours a day. Unfortunately, as every parent knows, the hours they are awake, are the same hours mom and dad want to sleep.
Age ——————- Sleep Needs
Newborns ————– 15-18 hours
1-12 months ———– 14-15 hours
1-3 years ————– 12-14 hours
3-6 years ————– 11-13 hours
7-12 years ————- 10-11 hours
12-18 years ———— 8-10 hours
But our need for sleep decreases as we age. By adulthood,about 8 hours per night is recommended. Surprisingly this is about in the middle of the amount of sleep required for mammals.
Comparative average sleep periods for various mammals (in captivity) over 24 hours:
Pop culture is filled with ways to keep you grounded psychologically but Biological Psychologist Helena Riess, Ph. D. says that it’s just as important to be physically grounded.
“We’ve gotten away from nature,” Dr. Riess says, “and we don’t even realize the negative impact it has on our health.”
When she refers to the concept of “grounding”, Dr. Riess means actual physical contact with the ground and nature. The benefits can range from the psychological well -being of relaxing in a natural environment to the physical impact of clean air.
Additionally, studies have shown that gardening and contact with bacteria in the soil can have a beneficial impact on human health. Ask any gardener how they feel after a day in the dirt and you can’t help but see the positive impact.
Dr. Riess says she is a firm believer in grounding or “earthing” as a way to control stress and improve overall wellness. Contact with the ground can release negative ions that build up in the body and can counteract the impact of free radicals according to Dr. Riess. She points to Clinton Ober’s groundbreaking book on the subject as the basis for the movement.
She uses a variety techniques to help her and her clients keep in contact with the earth even when engaged in daily activities- such as sleep, work, and even walking.
“The impact on sleep and stress levels is significant,” she notes.
Dr. Helena Riess, of Wellness Management Consultants, says that while LEED, the leading standard for construction, may be a good starting point for energy efficient buildings, it does not mean the building is a healthy or a biologically safe living environment.
Dr. Riess, and others have long pointed out that LEED certification has a number of levels, all of which indicate how green a building might be. “But,” she said today, “That has nothing to do with health, and in some cases a green building can be more unhealthy than an older non-certified structure.”
Older buildings which may not have the insulation and containment of a green building, may use more energy, but in many cases the air flow, keeps the indoor air fresher and healthier than some green buildings.
This can be particularly important if the office building is furnished with materials that outgas VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) which are trapped in the sealed building and can build up in the human body.
Dr. Riess noted that while the issue is important for the workplace, the cumulative impact of VOC’s on young children can be even more severe.
VOC’s are present in hundreds of products that consumers bring into their home every day. “We don’t give a second thought to what kind of carpet we use when we redecorate for the new baby, or what kind of adhesives were used for the new dresser set in a child’s bedroom, but they can all be sources of VOC’s which can impede or retard the development of young children.
“Consumers need to look for eco-friendly products with minimal or non-VOC ingredients that do not outgas or negatively affect our health and well-being- rather than looking for brands that contain VOC’s and toxins. If we don’t, In the end, the costs can be even greater for overall health.”
Firms can do a chemical analysis of your home indoor air quality, but in many cases, it’s just matter of having a specialist take a look at the products in your home. You can then eliminate them immediately, or at least over time, Dr. Riess said.
Not surprisingly, at least not to anyone who has studied Building Biology, the study found that poor air quality leads to a decrease in cognitive functioning.
Helena Riess, Ph. D. of Wellness Management Consultants , notes that while more study is needed, this may be among the first studies to show that society is slowly changing it’s attitude toward overall air quality both in the office and at home.
“Building Biologists, have long pointed out that VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) can impact personal health and need to be minimized,” Dr. Riess noted.
She went on, ‘ We advise all our clients to survey their homes and eliminate as many sources of VOC’s as possible.”
VOC’s outgas from hundreds of products such as sealants, glues, adhesives, and preservatives as well as plastics and man-made products like carpets and even wallpaper.
From a home standpoint, according to Dr. Helena Riess, the real issue is that the VOC’s measured from any one product may not exceed accepted standards, but they build up over time and have a cumulative effect.
Now, I am fully aware that, the Chipotle announcement was about 90% marketing hype, since you could drive a truck through the qualifications and exceptions. These include soft drinks and other products where they could not find substitutes.
Additionally, this says nothing of the GMO products fed to animals that provide the beef, pork, or chicken in their food. But it does include corn, which is largely a GMO product in the United States and is an important ingredient at a restaurant specializing in Mexican food.
But the announcement marks the first time a well-known major chain has made any statement on GMO’s and flies directly in the face of the Monsanto supporters who claim the food is perfectly safe and there is no reason to even label the products.
The announcement comes, of course, just a week after, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, famously stopped for lunch at a Chipotle restaurant on her initial campaign trip.
Now, this also says nothing about the overall wellness level of the food at Chipotle, since many people insist that it’s not too many steps above fast food.
Will the announcement alone end the use of Roundup and make the world less polluted? Probably not, but if it raises awareness and helps the next ballot battle to label GMO foods, I think we should support it.
Combined with the impending labeling rules that Whole Foods hopes to implement by 2018, maybe consumers will be able to vote on GMO products with their wallets.
PFAS’s, poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of chemicals, used in everything from carpets to pizza boxes, that many independent scientists claim increase the risk of cancer.
Under public pressure, some classes of the chemicals were replaced a few years ago, but now a new effort is being made to ban them entirely. Industry, which has a financial interest in their continued use, insists they are safe but unfortunately, since they stay in the human body for decades, it is very difficult to verify their claims.
The only solution, in my book, would be to ban them entirely to create healthier products and lessen the body burden of chemicals, which are leading to a host of health issues which no one can, or will explain.