I just had to share this here. Music can help heal or at least temporarily heal the mind in difficult times both physically and mentally. Oliver Sacks shows how music lights a man who has been in a nursing home for ten years and has barely responded beyond yes or no questions. Watch how he describes and sings about the music he loves.
Posts from the ‘Health’ Category
Fascinating read on people’s sleeping habits and how the 8-hour night is only a recent development in historical terms.
His book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern – in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer’s Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.
Much like the experience of Wehr’s subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
“It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,” Ekirch says.
During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.
And these hours weren’t entirely solitary – people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.
A doctor’s manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day’s labour but “after the first sleep”, when “they have more enjoyment” and “do it better”.
Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.
By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.
In August of 2009, I wrote a blog post about the Calorie Nazi diet I had undertaken as a new year’s resolution that year to finally lose weight, partly due to warnings from my doctor about how heart disease and diabetes could strike even in my late 30s. Since I wrote this post, I have gained some of that weight back and have again embarked on the same diet I did two years ago, so far shedding 28 pounds. I have a goal of losing an additional 15 pounds, bringing me to a lower point than I was when first embarking on this diet.
The key to dieting is not to stop when you have reached your goal. The diet should merely transform itself to one of maintenance instead of celebration. That’s what I’ve taught myself this time around, because it’s just more work when the pounds start to creep back up on you and you have to lose them again. Read more