December 18: Weekly Health Roundup

Acts of Kindness Can Relieve Stress

Just in time for the holiday season – another reason to spread the kindness! Turns out that small acts of kindness towards others, no matter or small, can “improve the everyday effects that stress has on our mental and physical health.” That’s right – one of the top reasons for unhealthy (stress) can be greatly reduced by being kind. So go spread the holiday cheer and reap a little benefit for yourself along the way, via Ask Men

Let Pets Share Your Bed for a Better Night’s Sleep

As if you needed more reason to curl up with your critter, a poll of patients has found that 41% of those who let their pets sleep with them report no disruption to their slumber. In fact, many admitted to “dreaming easier because their critters provide ‘security, companionship or relaxation’”, via Daily News

Evolution Made Humans Sound Sleepers

A new study has shown that out of all the species of primates, humans have evolved to need the least amount of sleep. A normal human needs roughly 7 hours of sleep per night while certain primates like the macaque or grey mouse lemurs need up to 17 hours of sleep per day. Not only are we faster sleepers, we’re more efficient as well. Humans spend 25 percent of our slumber in REM phase while other primates tend to spend less than five percent in REM sleep, via Chronicle Council

What Red Wine is Really Doing to You

Throughout its history, red wine has been attributed with reducing the risk of prostate cancer and cavities, improving digestion, heart health and longevity, and possibly even as good for your health as an hour at the gym. While its history is a complicated one, Harvard researchers can say with some confidence that moderate alcohol consumption is probably harmless. Unfortunately, above-average consumption (equal to a couple glasses of alcohol per day) is linked to higher risks of cancer, via CNN Wire

Lifestyle to Blame for 70-90% of Cancers

A study published by Nature found that intrinsic factors (those you can’t change) account for just 10-30% of people’s risk for cancer. “Cancer risk is heavily influenced by extrinsic factors”, which is good news, as this means making better lifestyle choices can greatly reduce cancer risks, via Market Watch

Time to Weigh In

Does the study on kindness make you want to do more good? Do you let your pets sleep with you each night or do you find it disruptive to your sleep? Do you buy into studies on the benefits of alcohol or do they seem more wishful than logical? Share your thoughts below!