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1. 3 Simple Tips that Can Have A Huge Impact on Your Health

You know that “getting enough sleep” is a healthy habit, and now new research from Finland reveals that getting at least seven or eight hours nightly also reduces a person’s sick days. Sleeping less than six hours (or more than nine) correlated with higher absenteeism on the job. 

“Insufficient sleep—due to inadequate or mistimed sleep—contributes to the risk for several of today’s public health epidemics, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Getting at least seven hours of nightly sleep is a key to overall health, which translates to less sick time away from work,” said a spokesperson. Having trouble sleeping? Start with your healthcare provider, because everyone deserves a good night’s rest. 

And while we’re on the subject of sleep, a study in the journal Neurology reports that when your sleep is interrupted or shortened, brain volume may decline. “We found that longitudinal measures of cortical atrophy (gradual and progressive degeneration of the outer layer of the brain, or the cortex) were widely correlated with sleep quality,” the authors write. “Poor sleep quality may be a cause or a consequence of brain atrophy (a decrease in size).” 

Next, you may wonder why you see so many reports about the benefits of exercise. The reason is: It works! Here’s yet another one, this time lauding the fact that doing an hour of moderate exercise or half-hour of vigorous exercise might reduce heart failure risk by nearly 50 percent—for both men and women. 

“You do not need to run a marathon to gain the benefits of physical activity — even quite low levels of activity can give you positive effects,” a study co-author said. The best advice: Get moving and do it every day. And regarding what is “moderate”? Check out this chart from Harvard School of Public Health. You may be doing more than you think. 

Finally, I want to share a story of my fifth-grade friend, Barbara, whose mother repeatedly urged her to “Eat your fruit, Barbara!” My pal never did love fruit. She should have, because we have even more evidence that’s it’s great for your health.

Daily consumption of fresh fruit could cut cardiovascular risk by up to 40 percent, according to new research conducted in China. In fact, the greater the quantity of fruit consumed, the greater effect it had on risk levels. Study participants ate between one and five portions of fruit. Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference, don’t they? Starring now in your local produce department: strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches and so much more. Chomp.

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