A study presented this week at the Forum of European Neuroscience conference in Geneva, Switzerland suggests that a good night’s sleep can improve memory.
For the study, researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland enlisted 32 volunteers to each learn a new skill, such as following a moving dot on a computer screen using a joy stick. Participants were then divided into two groups: the first was allowed to sleep for eight hours and the second was deprived of sleep or only permitted to take a short nap.
To assess the impact of these sleep patterns on the brain, researchers then used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brain activity of participants as they repeated the tasks that they had learned the previous days.
I get emails every day from people who are changing their lives for the better by following the guidelines I outline on this site. But many are looking for more of what the Primal Blueprint has to offer. That is to say, they want a comprehensive break down of the elements that make up the Blueprint; a Primal primer if you will. In coming weeks I will be going into detail – anthropological evidence, modern research, etc. – regarding this health philosophy, but I first want to offer up this summary of the Blueprint. I think it is a good starting point for what is to come.
In this extended article you will find the basic building blocks needed to discover the Primal side of your life. What does this mean? It means learning and understanding what it means to be human. It means using this knowledge to help you make important lifestyle choices. It means modeling your life after your ancestors in order to promote optimal health and wellness. And, most importantly, it means taking control of your body and mind.
If this article intrigues you be on the look out for a much more thorough explanation of how we can learn from our past to shape and mold our future.
My basic premise is this: The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).
What can we say? We love our vices: those delightful, scrumptious, indulgent little morsels of gratifying transgression. O.K., this isn’t really how we look at it, but it’s kind of fun (and relatively harmless) to linger for a moment in imagined decadence.
In reality, our vices are simply healthy pleasures, satisfying and rather sensible indulgences. More Tom Hanks than Steve McQueen. More Jane Austen than Candace Bushnell. (Whatever floats your boat – you get our meaning.) The point is, these are vices that come without the guilt. What a deal! 100% satisfaction with no self-imposed penitence. Sign us up!
If you’ve ever taken an intercontinental flight – or heck, jetted from coast to coast – chances are you’re probably no stranger to jet lag. Now, new research from Harvard University suggests that simply changing your meal times can help speed your adjustment to a new time zone.
When we discuss jet lag, what we’re really discussing is an interruption in the body’s circadian rhythm, that is, the internal master clock that governs our sleeping patterns as well as the precise timing of certain hormone secretions, brain wave patterns, and cellular repair and regeneration. Disruptions to this critical clock – either through frequent travel or shift work – can result in sleep disturbances and reductions in mental acuity in its mildest form, but is also thought to contribute to depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.
We just can’t help it. This epigenetics stuff really floats our boat. The last few weeks we’ve brought you a Dear Mark primer on gene expression as well as news on recent studies examining the role of lifestyle/environment on genetic expression. Diabetes, heart disease, even lung function are impacted by external factors like nutrition, exercise, and pollution exposure. But mental health is part of the epigenetic picture as well: chronic stress and even early emotional experiences, it turns out, may be significant enough to alter our genes’ expression.
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