Health tips — September 2017

Getting a good night’s sleep can help you make better food choices, and keeping your smartphone away can improve your performance at work.

SLEEP WELL, EAT BETTER

For many of us, stress at work often leads to an overindulgence in junk food in the evening. But there is a way to buffer those poor dinnertime choices: sleep. Researchers from universities in the US and China charted 235 workers and found that if they slept well the night before, they were more likely to make better food choices if they endured stress the next day. Food is often a way to regulate our bad moods and get momentary energy bursts. Getting a replenishing night’s sleep, however, is the real answer to stressful days.

GET SMART: PUT THE CELL AWAY

Researchers at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin studied almost 800 smartphone users to measure how they perform without their phones. Participants completed tests that needed full concentration to measure the user’s ability to hold and process information. Participants were told to silence their phones, then instructed at random to put them either in their bag or pocket, or in another room. Those who put their phones in another room outperformed those who kept their phones near them. Just having our phone close by can distract us, weakening our cognitive function.

So the next time you have an important meeting, try leaving your phone at your desk.