The benefits of spending time outdoors are numerous -- fresh air, sunshine, relaxation. Who wouldn't want that? Apparently, many Americans don't. Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago tracked outdoor activities over several decades, and found a sharp decline among US citizens. Rates of fishing, hiking, hunting, backpacking and national and state park visits were followed over time and showed decreased use by about 1% per year, for an average of 18% to 25% total decrease.
Scientists at Leeds University, England believe that they have found the answer to how a lot of our unconscious actions are generated -- by simply following our herd of brethren! A new study demonstrates that it only takes about 5% of people to have a decisive influence on the direction that a crowd of people would take, and the rest simply follow.
Don't get me wrong. I don't get good sleep. I don't get enough sleep. In fact, I believe that, if given the chance, I could sleep for the next 48 hours. If given the choice between a new car and a few months of guaranteed good sleep, I'd probably go with the sleep. But I attribute most of this to having an infant in the house. I think that makes sense.
We all know the benefits of getting adequate sleep. Two recent studies points out the effects of sleep patterns on body weight. In one trial, children who slept less than 9 hours per night were three times as likely to be overweight, independent of their level of physical activity. Children with shorter sleep duration were also more likely to be emotionally labile than children who slept longer.
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