Does Listening to Calming Music at Bedtime Actually Help You Sleep?

A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found that listening to music can help older adults sleep better.

Researchers from the National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Taiwan combined the results of past studies to understand the effect that listening to music can have on the quality of older adults’ sleep. Their work suggests that:

  • Older adults (ages 60 and up) living at home sleep better when they listen to music for 30 minutes to one hour at bedtime.
  • Calm music improves older adults’ sleep quality better than rhythmic music does.
  • Older adults should listen to music for more than four weeks to see the most benefit from listening to music.

Why Older Adults Have Trouble Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

As we age, our sleep cycles change and make a good night’s sleep harder to achieve. What does it really mean to get a good night’s sleep? If you wake up rested and ready to start your day, you probably slept deeply the night before. But if you’re tired during the day, need coffee to keep you going, or wake up several times during the night, you may not be getting the deep sleep you need. According to the National Institute on Aging, older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

But studies have shown that 40 to 70 percent of older adults have sleep problems and over 40 percent have insomnia, meaning they wake up often during the night or too early in the morning. Sleep problems can make you feel irritable and depressed, can cause memory problems, and can even lead to falls or accidents.

How the Researchers Studied the Effect of Music on Older Adults’ Quality of Sleep

For their study, the researchers searched for past studies that tested the effect of listening to music on older adults with sleep problems who live at home. They looked at five studies with 288 participants. Half of these people listened to music; the other half got the usual or no treatment for their sleep problems. People who were treated with music listened to either calming or rhythmic music for 30 minutes to one hour, over a period ranging from two days to three months. (Calming music has slow tempo of 60 to 80 beats per minute and a smooth melody, while rhythmic music is faster and louder.) All participants answered questions about how well they thought they were sleeping. Each participant ended up with a score between 0 and 21 for the quality of their sleep.

The researchers looked at the difference in average scores for:

  • people who listened to music compared to people who did not listen to music;
  • people who listened to calm music compared to people who listened to rhythmic music;
  • and people who listened to music for less than four weeks compared to people who listened to music for more than four weeks.

What the Researchers Learned

Listening to calming music at bedtime improved sleep quality in older adults, and calming music was much better at improving sleep quality than rhythmic music. The researchers said that calming music may improve sleep by slowing your heart rate and breathing, and lowering your blood pressure.[3] This, in turn helps lower your levels of stress and anxiety.

Researchers also learned that listening to music for longer than four weeks is better at improving sleep quality than listening to music for a shorter length of time.

Limits of the Study

  • Researchers only looked at studies published in English and Chinese, meaning they may have missed studies in other languages on the effect of listening to music on sleep in older adults.
  • Results may not apply to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
  • In the studies researchers used, people who listened to music received more attention from researchers than did people who got standard or no treatment for their sleep problems. This means that sleep improvements in the music therapy group could be due to that extra attention.
  • Since the different studies used different kinds of music, researchers could not single out which type of calming music improved sleep the most.
  • All of the people in the study had similar kinds of sleep problems. This means listening to music may not help people with other kinds of sleep problems.

What this Study Means for You

If you’re having trouble sleeping, listening to music can be a safe, effective, and easy way to help you fall and stay asleep. It may also reduce your need for medication to help you sleep.

Source: Health in Aging

Fewer Than 1 in 10 American Adults Get Enough Dietary Fiber


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Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you’re like most American adults, it might be time to reach for a piece of fruit, a plate of vegetables or a bowl of whole grains.

Only 7% of adults get enough fiber, a type of carbohydrate that passes through the body undigested and supports not only regular bowel movements, but also offers important health benefits. Too little fiber is associated with a higher risk of both heart disease and diabetes.

An analysis of data from more than 14,600 U.S. adults who participated in a national health survey between 2013 and 2018 showed that 9% of women and 5% of men were getting the recommended daily amount of fiber.

“These findings should remind people to choose fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables to reduce their risk for heart disease,” said lead author Derek Miketinas, an assistant professor at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, adding: “For those with diabetes, it is especially important to eat enough fiber since they are at a greater risk for heart disease.”

Fiber intake was assessed using dietary questionnaires. Participants self-reported on their diabetes status, which was also assessed with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. Researchers analyzed fiber intake from dietary sources only, not from supplements.

Health guidelines recommend eating 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed daily. Women should typically aim for 25 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet; men, for 38 grams in a 2,500-calorie diet. Those over age 50 can have lower targets.

But both men and women fell far short in this study: On average, women consumed 9.9 grams per 1,000 calories; men, 8.7 grams. Both men and women with diabetes did slightly better, but still fell short of recommendations.

Getting enough fiber can be a matter of making different food choices, such as choosing a one cup serving of pearl barley with 6 grams of fiber instead of white rice with 2 grams.

Miketinas said the new findings can help inform future research into chronic disease prevention. Past studies have suggested that dietary fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation and help prevent diabetes, as well as improve blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.

“The results of this study can be used to identify relationships between dietary fiber intake and outcomes of interest like risk factors for heart disease,” said Miketinas. “In fact, our preliminary analysis suggests that higher dietary fiber intake in adults with diabetes is strongly associated with reductions in markers for heart and kidney disease.”

Miketinas was scheduled to present the findings Monday at an online meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay

In Pictures: Food of Spring Moon (嘉麟樓) in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Fine Dining Cantonese Dim Sum and Cuisine

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant

Menopause Before 40 Tied to Higher Stroke Risk

Thor Christensen wrote . . . . . . . . .

Early menopause could mean an increased risk of stroke caused by blocked blood vessels, according to a new study. Yet for each year of menopause delay, stroke risk fell by 2%.

Stroke is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and women have a 4% higher lifetime stroke risk than men. Some studies show women who experience menopause at an earlier age have a higher risk of heart disease in general. But research has produced mixed results on the relationship between stroke and the age menopause started.

The study, published Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, looked at data from 16,244 postmenopausal women, ages 26-70, in the Netherlands.

After following the women for about 15 years and adjusting for various factors, researchers found women whose menopause occurred before age 40 had 1.5 times higher risk of ischemic stroke than women who experienced it between ages 50-54. Researchers also discovered a 2% lower stroke risk for each year menopause was delayed.

The risk between earlier menopause and stroke was limited to ischemic stroke, which is caused by a vessel blockage, and not hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a weakened vessel ruptures. The study also found the link between age at menopause and stroke was stronger for women who experienced natural menopause than for those who experienced menopause after surgery to remove the ovaries.

“It is of utmost important for all women to try and achieve optimal cardiovascular health before and after menopause, but it is even more important for women with early menopause,” said Dr. Yvonne van der Schouw, the study’s co-author and a professor of chronic disease epidemiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

The results point to the need for new research into the link between early menopause and stroke risk, van der Schouw said, adding that further studies “may eventually lead to new, still unknown pathways and new clues for preventive measures.”

Scientists already have been studying how hormone replacement therapies in early menopause might improve cardiovascular health. According to an AHA scientific statement published last year in its journal Circulation, certain hormone replacement therapies have cardiovascular benefits, decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes and protect against bone loss.

A growing body of research also is looking at how estrogen impacts a woman’s brain health.

A 2019 study in the journal Menopause found giving women estrogen early – within the first five years of menopause – might protect against cognitive decline. It also showed women exposed longer to natural estrogen because of longer reproductive periods had better cognitive function later in life.

Dr. Samar El Khoudary, who was not involved in the new research, said the study was limited by the use of data that relied on participant questionnaires to report details on menopause.

Still, she said, “this study as well as other similar studies help make us better aware of the risks related to menopause when it comes to cardiovascular health.”

She called for more studies to examine how hormone replacement therapy impacts age at menopause and stroke. “It’s the big elephant in the room (since) midlife women use hormone therapy to treat menopause-related symptoms,” said El Khoudary, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

But whether or not they use hormone replacement therapy, women experiencing menopause need to educate themselves about the risk of stroke and what they can do to prevent it, El Khoudary said.

“During midlife when women transition through menopause, women need to maintain physical activity, have a healthy diet and a healthy weight, stop smoking, and get enough sleep,” she said. “At this stage, reducing their risk becomes very important.”

Source: American Heart Association

Abalone, Chicken and Duck Wrapped in Lettuce

Ingredients

40 g abalone
40 g chicken fillet
40 g roast duck
40 g fresh chicken liver
30 g bamboo shoot
30 g water-chestnuts
2 mushrooms
10 g rice noodles
40 g olive kernels or roast almond
20 g chopped, cooked ham
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
2 stalks cilantro
10 lettuce leaves

Seasonong

1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon chicken broth mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 tablespoons of chicken stock

Method

  1. Dice the abalone, chicken, duck, chicken liver, bamboo shoots, water-chestnuts and mushrooms.
  2. Heat a wok until very hot. Pour 2 cups of peanut oil into it. Fry the chicken, chicken liver and olive kernels for 15 seconds. Remove from the pan, leaving the oil in it.
  3. Fry the rice noodles in the same pan to make them crispy. Drain the oil and place noodles on a plate.
  4. Heat the wok until it is very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Saute onions, garlic and ginger. Add the bamboo shoots, water-chestnuts and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
  5. Add the abalone, chicken meat, duck meat, chicken liver, kernel and seasoning. Cook for another minute.
  6. Remove and arrange on top of the rice noodles. Garnish with chopped ham and parsley.
  7. Wrap with the lettuce and serve with ginger, vinegar and Hoi-sin sauce.

Source: Cooking with Hong Kong Top Chefs


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