Sleep

fitness

Best fitness tracker for Cyber Monday: track steps, activity, sleep and cardio

Looking to get fit in 2020? The best fitness tracker (aka a fitness band, aka “those things you wear that count your steps”) is a decent place to start, especially if you’re trying to stick to New Year resolutions, even though it’s only autumn. Fitness trackers are not expensive but the best Cyber Monday deals brought the prices down even further. 

• Shop the best cheap Fitbit deals on right now. 

With the market extremely well established there really is something for everyone in terms of prices, from around £20 to £200+, with products that do little more than count steps and ‘track sleep’, with varying degrees of inaccuracy, all the way up to devices with heart-rate tracking that are more like scaled down running watches.

After many years of doing very little beyond counting steps, makers of trackers and bands are now realising that many consumers want more useful feedback on how fit they are and how to get fitter. They are addressing this with, it must be said, ‘varying’ degrees of success. Or, if you’re less diplomatic, not much success.

To cut a long story short, if you’re interested in fitness, my strong advice is to get a running watch instead. The term ‘running watch’ is just shorthand – they’re fitness watches that also useful when cycling, hiking, at the gym and even, in a few cases, swimming. 

However, if you must have a Fitbit or similar, get the new Charge 4 or one of their more versatile watches such as the Versa 2. 

But what is the best fitness tracker?

Okay, it’s a Fitbit. Quite hard deciding which, as they are so similar in terms of functionality but at present we rank them like this:

Fitbit Charge 4: best fitness tracker overall. Finally, Fitbit has given runners, HIIT workout heroes and anyone who likes more intense exercise what they want. There’s GPS to track outdoor activity, improved pulse monitoring accuracy and a new points system that rewards SWEAT. 

Fitbit Versa 2: best fitness tracker with smartwatch elements. With fairly good pulse tracking, Alexa, and an excellent app, this is a good fitness band made just big enough to incorporate a smartwatch-style screen and functionality. No GPS built in but you can tap into your phone’s.

Fitbit Versa Lite: best cheap fitness tracker and easily good enough for most people.

Garmin Vivoactive 4: best fitness tracker made by someone other than Fitbit. with built-in GPS, tracking of more intense workouts and impressive accuracy, this is obviously the device that the Charge 4 was built to take on. The look and feel of it, plus the social and app elements are a bit crappier, however.

Fitbit’s app, social network and general ecosystem are just by far the best. Seriously, it’s not even close. Garmin’s new, tightened-up app is a step in the right direction in some ways, but it’s still too sprawling, because it’s designed to be for everyone from 10,000-steps-per-day mums to elite triathletes. 

One

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fitness

Best fitness tracker for Black Friday: track steps, activity, sleep and cardio

Looking to get fit in 2020? The best fitness tracker (aka a fitness band, aka “those things you wear that count your steps”) is a decent place to start, especially if you’re trying to stick to New Year resolutions, even though it’s only autumn. Fitness trackers are not expensive but the best Black Friday deals and best Cyber Monday deals. 

• Shop the best cheap Fitbit deals on right now. 

With the market extremely well established there really is something for everyone in terms of prices, from around £20 to £200+, with products that do little more than count steps and ‘track sleep’, with varying degrees of inaccuracy, all the way up to devices with heart-rate tracking that are more like scaled down running watches.

After many years of doing very little beyond counting steps, makers of trackers and bands are now realising that many consumers want more useful feedback on how fit they are and how to get fitter. They are addressing this with, it must be said, ‘varying’ degrees of success. Or, if you’re less diplomatic, not much success.

To cut a long story short, if you’re interested in fitness, my strong advice is to get a running watch instead. The term ‘running watch’ is just shorthand – they’re fitness watches that also useful when cycling, hiking, at the gym and even, in a few cases, swimming. 

However, if you must have a Fitbit or similar, get the new Charge 4 or one of their more versatile watches such as the Versa 2. 

But what is the best fitness tracker?

Okay, it’s a Fitbit. Quite hard deciding which, as they are so similar in terms of functionality but at present we rank them like this:

Fitbit Charge 4: best fitness tracker overall. Finally, Fitbit has given runners, HIIT workout heroes and anyone who likes more intense exercise what they want. There’s GPS to track outdoor activity, improved pulse monitoring accuracy and a new points system that rewards SWEAT. 

Fitbit Versa 2: best fitness tracker with smartwatch elements. With fairly good pulse tracking, Alexa, and an excellent app, this is a good fitness band made just big enough to incorporate a smartwatch-style screen and functionality. No GPS built in but you can tap into your phone’s.

Fitbit Versa Lite: best cheap fitness tracker and easily good enough for most people.

Garmin Vivoactive 4: best fitness tracker made by someone other than Fitbit. with built-in GPS, tracking of more intense workouts and impressive accuracy, this is obviously the device that the Charge 4 was built to take on. The look and feel of it, plus the social and app elements are a bit crappier, however.

Fitbit’s app, social network and general ecosystem are just by far the best. Seriously, it’s not even close. Garmin’s new, tightened-up app is a step in the right direction in some ways, but it’s still too sprawling, because it’s designed to be for everyone from 10,000-steps-per-day mums to elite triathletes. 

One outlier

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fitness

Top fitness, health and sleep gifts for the holidays

Looking for a smartwatch or a cool sleep or health item with a tech edge to gift this holiday season? Here’s a roundup of some options.

Finding a
gift

for that fitness lover, health-focused family member, or sleep-deprived friend can be time-consuming. There are plenty of tech options available and here’s a roundup of some of the best and most useful choices for everyone from your favorite teen to your aging parent. 



google-fossil-watch.jpg

Image: Fossil

The Fossil Gen 5E smartwatch is a sleek new device available in two sizes, 42mm or 44mm. It has an optimized activity tracker, sleep tracking, cardio fitness tracking and phone app updates. It runs on Wear OS by Google. 


$249 at Fossil



ua-mask-in-action.jpg

Image: UA

Under Armour has developed a face mask for athletes to use while training and working out. It has a moldable nose bridge to secure it in place and mitigate airflow to the eyes so that glasses won’t fog as easily. It’s reuseable. It comes in four sizes: SM/MD, MD/LG, LG/XL, XL/XXL.


$30 at Under Armour



sandman.jpg

Image: Palo Alto Innovation

The Sandman Doppler is an all-in-one charging station and alarm clock with Amazon Alexa built in. It has six high-speed USB charging ports and the manufacturer, Palo Alto Innovation, plans to roll out updates in Q1, including two programmable smart buttons to let users set up their own routine. 


$200 at Palo Alto Innovation



ua-basketball-shoes.jpg

Image: UA

This is the first basketball shoe that Under Armour has developed specifically for a female basketball player. It was built for elite female players to give them an advantage on the court.


$110 at Under Armour



jabra-wireless-earbuds.jpg

Image: Jabra

These earbuds have up to 28 hours of battery life and they’re ideal for sports, music and calls. They’re waterproof and engineered to fit snug in your ear, so they’re perfect for a long run or workout.


$200 at Jabra



mundus-32.jpg

Image: Eggtronic

The Einova Mundus Pro is a UV-C disinfecting device to kill germs and bacteria on high-touch items like wallets, keys and phones. This is a UV-C disinfecting tray that holds more than just a phone with dimensions of 19.5 x 19.5 x 5.2 inches. A full cycle takes eight minutes, but four minutes will substantially sanitize devices and the novel coronavirus is killed in one minute, according to studies the company has cited. The top of the tray is a fast Qi-certified 10w wireless charging dock.


$119 at Eggtronic



joovv-go-unit.jpg

Image: Joovv

This portable light therapy device provides red light therapy for improved cellular function, increased blood circulation and optimizing sleep. It delivers red and near infrared (NIR) wavelengths. 


$545 at Joovv

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dentist

Sleep apnea and your dentist: A dental visit is a proactive approach to overall health

Article content continued

“MDs don’t spend any time in the mouth and their practice is often symptomatic driven,” he says. “They take into account signs and symptoms a patient brings up. An oral exam is a proactive rather than reactive approach to health because we do a full look-around at the teeth and all the soft issue as well as checking lymph nodes and taking X-rays to check bone levels.”

While sleep apnea may show up as dissolved enamel alongside issues such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, nutritional issues, for example, can be seen in gum inflammation, tongue health, plaque buildup on and in between the teeth as well as in bone health.

Diabetes, meanwhile, may present through bone loss, inflamed and sore soft tissue around the teeth, impaired and/or delayed wound healing and dry mouth. However, because these symptoms can also be indicators of much lesser issues, Dr. McCullough warns against self-diagnosing.

“Google MD can be your worst nightmare because for every symptom you can find a gloom and doom scenario,” he says. “Plaque buildup, for example, could be something as simple as needing to floss more. Even if you’re in for a cleaning, dental hygienists are also trained to spot issues, so you are covered from various angles.”

Patients who experience an issue in between appointments, Dr. McCullough suggests, should first ensure it wasn’t caused by something within their control, such as biting into a too-hot slice of pizza, which can take time to heal.

“If you’re losing sleep because you’re in pain or something is beyond normal and you don’t have a reason why it happened, make an appointment with your dentist,” he says. “But, generally, going to a dentist regularly is a great way to monitor your overall heath and correct any issues quickly.”

For more information, visit www.capitaldentistry.com.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Capital Dentistry.

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health

How Learning to Lucid Dream Helped This Man Fight His Sleep Demon

Photo credit: Kotynski
Photo credit: Kotynski

From Men’s Health

One night when I was 16, I woke up and realized that I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I could barely breathe. I was already panicking when I noticed a figure, wreathed in shadows, moving toward the foot of my bed—out of my line of sight. That’s when the whispers started, all around me. Then I felt hands moving up from the foot of my bed, groping me through the covers, harder the further up my legs they reached, as the whispers got louder, until suddenly everything stopped and I bolted upright, sweating, screaming, and searching for a now-vanished intruder.

That was my first experience with sleep paralysis, a condition in which a sudden awakening from REM sleep causes an inability to move or speak. An episode can last from a few seconds to a few minutes but feels much, much longer. It’s usually terrifying, no matter how many times it’s happened to you before, because your brain is struggling to react to paralysis while in a confused state of blended consciousness, between dreaming and waking. An estimated 8 percent of people experience sleep paralysis at least once in their lifetime, usually when something disrupts their sleep patterns. The vast majority of sleep–paralysis episodes come with a side of auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations, often of spectral intruders. (Some people even experience sexual abuse or pleasure at the hands of their sleep demons, perhaps because REM is also associated with automatic erectile activity and increased vaginal blood flow for no clear reason. Hence, incubi, succubi, alien probes.)

But I’m part of a smaller subset who, due to various underlying biological or psychological issues, experience recurrent sleep paralysis—up to once per week in my case, frequently featuring the same assailant.

After more than a decade of research, experimentation, and terror, I found a mix of exercise, meditation, and sleep-hygiene diligence that helped lower the frequency of my episodes. By my mid-20s, I got them down to one or two per year. But in early 2020, as I faced a series of new life stresses, my strategies started to fail. I told a friend that I was seeing my shadow demon multiple times a week and that it was driving me mad. Without missing a beat, she asked, “Why not just take control and fuck your sleep demon?”

That was her flip way of turning me on to the idea of treating sleep paralysis by learning to lucid dream, or regain awareness and control while dreaming. Most of us have had this sort of dream at least once accidentally—you know, that uncanny feeling of suddenly realizing, Oh, this isn’t real life. I’m dreaming right now. But a small group of enthusiasts, known as oneironauts, try to induce them regularly for fun, self-improvement, or introspection.

Photo credit: Hearst - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst – Hearst Owned

The idea isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. University of Adelaide sleep researcher and lucid-dreaming guide Denholm Aspy, Ph.D., has for years helped

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dentist

Dentist’s COVID-19 Insurance Suit Put To Sleep By Fla. Judge


By Archive



Email Craig Clough


href=”https://www.law360.com/#”>Craig Clough

Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our daily newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the daily Coronavirus briefing.

Law360 (November 3, 2020, 5:37 PM EST) —
A Florida federal judge on Monday tossed a dentist’s lawsuit seeking to compel Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. to cover his practice’s COVID-19 related losses, agreeing with the insurer that the dentist’s losses weren’t covered by his policy as they did not constitute a physical harm to the property.

Two businesses associated with dentist Raymond H. Nahmad sued in May claiming the insurance company was breaching a contract by declining to cover the dentist’s losses following orders from the governor of Florida and the mayor of Miami-Dade County in March to suspend non-emergency or elective dental care to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, ruling that the insurance policy covers a physical loss to the property and not a loss of revenue. The judge also said that even if a loss of revenue could be construed as a physical loss, there is a specific virus exclusion in the policy.

“As an initial matter, business income is not included within the list of covered property under the policy,” the judge said. “In fact, money and accounts are expressly excluded from the definition. But more importantly, the complaint itself alleges that there were no physical harms to the insured premises because plaintiffs’ injuries are purely economic.”

The judge added, “Federal courts in Florida that have examined whether economic losses caused by COVID-19 business closures or suspensions constitute a ‘direct physical loss’ or ‘physical harm’ have rejected plaintiffs’ arguments.”

Among the cases cited by the judge was the Southern District of Florida’s 2020 ruling in Malaube, LLC v. Greenwich Ins. Co. , where a restaurant sought coverage for losses from COVID-19. The court found there was no allegation COVID-19 was physically present on the premises, and also cited other rulings in Florida that found emergency government orders were insufficient to state a claim for COVID-19 looses because “there must be some allegation of actual harm.”

Judge Bloom also said that even if she assumed “for argument’s sake that plaintiffs had alleged facts triggering coverage under the policy, the virus exclusion would still apply to bar coverage for plaintiffs’ losses.”

The judge added, “Upon consideration, the court does not agree that plaintiffs’ distinction between the government orders versus the virus as the immediate cause of their losses avoids the plain language of the virus exclusion.”

A second claim seeking declaratory judgment was also dismissed by the judge, who said it was “duplicative” of the breach of contract allegation and also failed to state a claim.

Counsel for the parties did not

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health

My Weight-Loss Efforts Are Messing With My Sleep. Any Knockout Tips?

It’s a nightmarish scenario: you stave off cravings from dawn to dusk, only to be rewarded with a night of broken sleep. Not only will you struggle to recover properly from yesterday’s workout, but your sleep deprivation causes the hunger hormone ghrelin to surge, making another day of sticking to the meal plan all the more difficult.



The MH experts put this problem to bed for good


© Malte Mueller
The MH experts put this problem to bed for good

If you want to put this problem to bed for good, you need to wake up to your diet’s deficiencies. As nutritionist and weight-loss consultant Kim Pearson explains: “If you suddenly slash your daily calorie count too far, your blood sugar levels will plummet at night. And to stop it from dropping further, your body releases stress hormone cortisol. That’s what jolts you awake at 3am.”

Sadly, indiscriminately scoffing more calories isn’t the remedy for blissful slumber – a Pot Noodle free pass, this ain’t. While your body will burn through a plate of starchy food and max your blood sugar concentrations mid-sleep, an evening meal of protein, healthy fats and fibre offers a slow-energy release, says Pearson. Plus, upping your intake of steadily digestible fibre promotes the release of your sleep hormone melatonin, knocking you out 20 minutes faster, according to the Journal of Sleep Medicine.

Don’t worry if this upsets your overall calorie tally, as extra time between the sheets can power up your diet’s fat-burning potential. As a University of Chicago study found, increasing your sleep time from five to eight hours supercharges your metabolism, helping you shift 55% more body fat over a period of two weeks. It’s a weight-loss plan so easy that you can do it with your eyes closed.

Sign up to the Men’s Health newsletter and kickstart your home body plan. Make positive steps to become healthier and mentally strong with all the best fitness, muscle-building and nutrition advice delivered to your inbox.

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health

Sleep experts: It’s time to ditch daylight saving time

Oct. 30 (UPI) — For most of the United States, the clock goes back one hour on Sunday morning, the “fall back” for daylight saving time. Many of us appreciate the extra hour of sleep.

But for millions, that gain won’t counter the inadequate sleep they get the rest of the year. About 40% of adults — 50 to 70 million Americans — get less than the recommended minimum seven hours per night.

Some researchers are concerned about how the twice-a-year switch impacts our body’s physiology. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the largest scientific organization that studies sleep, now wants to replace daylight saving time with a move to a year-round fixed time. That way, our internal circadian clocks would not be misaligned for half the year. And it would eliminate the safety risk from sleep loss when transitioning to daylight saving time.

I am a neurologist at the University of Florida. I’ve studied how a lack of sleep can impair the brain. In the 1940s, most American adults averaged 7.9 hours of sleep a night. Today, it’s only 6.9 hours. To put it another way: In 1942, 84% of us got the recommended seven to nine hours; in 2013, it was 59%. To break it down further, a January 2018 study from Fitbit reported that men got even less sleep per night than women, about 6.5 hours.

The case for sleep

Problems from sleep shortage go beyond simply being tired. Compared to those who got enough sleep, adults who are short sleepers — those getting less than seven hours per day — were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and depression.

Children, who need more sleep than adults, face even more challenges. To promote optimal health, 6- to 12-year-olds should sleep nine to 12 hours a day; teens age 13 to 18, eight to 10 hours. But a Sleep Foundation poll of parents says children are getting at least one hour less than that. And researchers have found that sleep deprivation of even a single hour can harm a child’s developing brain, affecting memory encoding and attentiveness in school.

Sleep impacts every one of our biological systems. Serious consequences can result with poor sleep quality. Here’s a short list: Blood pressure may increase. Risk of coronary heart disease could go up. Our endocrine system releases more cortisol, a stress hormone. We become more aroused by “fight or flight” syndrome. There’s a reduction of growth hormone and muscle maintenance. There’s a higher chance of increased appetite and weight gain. The body has less glucose tolerance and greater insulin resistance; in the long term, that means an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Sleep deprivation is associated with increased inflammation and a decreased number of antibodies to fight infections. It may also cause a decrease in pain tolerance, reaction times and memory. Occupational studies show sleep loss can cause poor work performance, including more days missed and more car accidents.

Recent research

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health

Insomnia With Short Sleep Linked to Cognitive Impairment



Dr Julio Fernandez-Mendoza

Insomnia with objective short sleep duration is associated with a significantly increased risk of cognitive impairment (CI), particularly as it relates to cardiometabolic health, new research suggests.

Results of a population-based analysis show that participants who reported poor sleep or chronic insomnia and who objectively slept less than 6 hours per night had a twofold increased risk for CI.

The findings suggest that insomnia with objective short sleep duration is a more severe phenotype that is associated with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and neurocognitive disease, according to the researchers. The findings also indicate that objective sleep measures may reflect a patient’s insomnia severity and phenotype.

“This is the first study to show that adults who complain of insomnia and sleep objectively fewer than 6 hours in the lab have a twofold increased prevalence of mild cognitive impairment, particularly cognitive impairment associated with vascular contributors such as stage 2 hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke,” Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, told Medscape Medical News.

The research was published online September 24 in Sleep.

Highly Prevalent

The prevalence of insomnia symptoms in the general population may be as high as 30%, and approximately 15% of the general population has chronic insomnia.

Previous research has established an association between insomnia and psychiatric disorders, but fewer studies have examined the association between insomnia and cognitive impairment.

Furthermore, many studies that have analyzed the relationship between sleep and cognitive impairment have relied on self-reported measures of sleep, rather than objective measures.

For the study, researchers examined data from the Penn State Adult Cohort, which was a random, population-based sample of 1741 adults. Each participant spent one night in the sleep laboratory, during which he or she underwent 8 hours of polysomnography.

Participants also completed a questionnaire about sleep disorders, physical and mental health status, and substance use. They reported having normal sleep, poor sleep, or chronic insomnia.

The investigators obtained each participant’s clinical history, including mental and physical health conditions. Participants also underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests, including the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, and the Trail Making Test.  

The analysis included 1524 participants. The study population had a mean age of 48.9 years. Approximately 47% of participants were men, and about 92% were non-Hispanic Whites.

A total of 155 participants (10.2%) had CI. Overall, 899 participants (59%) reported normal sleep, 453 (30%) reported poor sleep, and 172 (11%) reported chronic insomnia.

Need for Objective Assessment

Poor sleep and chronic insomnia were not significantly associated with CI or possible vascular cognitive impairment (pVCI). However, objective short sleep duration was significantly linked to CI (odds ratio [OR], 1.90) and marginally associated with pVCI (OR, 1.53).

Participants with self-reported poor sleep or chronic insomnia who slept less than 6 hours had a significantly increased risk of CI (OR, 2.06 and 2.18, respectively), as well as increased risk of pVCI (OR, 1.94 and 2.33, respectively), compared with participants with

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