How Much Sleep Do I Need?


Getting a good night’s rest is vital to having enough energy for the next day. But that’s not the only reason you should get plenty of sleep. Your body needs sleep in order to rest and remain healthy. However, a recent study revealed that not only is not getting enough sleep detrimental to the brain, getting too much sleep can be as well.

The Sleep Study

The study was published in the academic journal Sleep, and included an online survey completed by over 40,000 subjects around the world. In addition to the survey, they were asked to complete a series of tests of reasoning, memory, and verbal skills.

According to the results, they found subjects who slept an average of 7 to eight hours every night performed better on these tests than those sleeping fewer or more hours. Other conclusions researchers were able to draw from the study included:

  • Around 50 percent of the subjects revealed that they slept less than 6.3 hours a night. 
  • The amount of sleep associated with the best performance on the tests was the same for all ages.
  • Short-term memory skills appeared to be unaffected by either too little or too much sleep.
  • Reasoning and verbal skills were very much affected by the amount of sleep a subject had.
  • Subjects who slept more than usual the night before taking the test did better than those who either slept their usual amount or slept less than usual.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Doctors have been saying for years that people should get at least 7 to eight hours of sleep every night, and it turns out they are right. Recently published research has indicated that less than seven hours or more than eight hours of sleep can affect the brain’s ability to function at an optimal level the next day.

Make sure you get the proper amount of sleep every night. For more information about sleep or general health tips, be sure to visit us online at The Benefits Store today. 

4 Easy Ways to Increase Mindfulness


Practicing mindfulness may seem like some sort of a new-age form of meditation, but it’s much more than just that. Mindfulness is a way to improve your health. You improve your mood by promoting positive thinking. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

  1. Explore familiar objects – Study objects you take for granted, such as your toothbrush. Really look at the details. Try to identify something about it you didn’t notice before. The more aware you become of your surroundings, the more you’ll appreciate them.
  2. Pay attention to your breathing – Sit in a quiet place where you can focus on your breathing. Pay attention as your breath moves in and out of your body. Notice how air goes in and out of your nostrils and how your abdomen expands and contracts with every breath. Try not to let your mind wander, focusing completely on how you are breathing. This is a form of meditation that can help reduce stress and anxiety by helping to relax your body.
  3. Sharpen your senses – Get something small to eat, like a raisin or a raspberry. Explore its texture, look at its color and detail, and smell it. Then taste it and chew it slowly and deliberately. Pay attention to how its taste changes. Avoid the impulse to chew fast and swallow it right away.  This process can help you become more aware of what you’re eating and allow you to appreciate something that you usually take for granted.
  4. Pay attention to conversation – When you talk with others, sincerely focus on what they’re saying so you can better understand what they mean without judging them.

Practicing mindfulness isn’t difficult, either. It’s the act of being intensely aware of what you’re feeling or sensing at every moment without interpreting or judging those feelings or senses. Here are four ways you can increase mindfulness:

Use these four methods to increase your mindfulness so you can reduce your tension, worry, and depression. For more health tips on how to reduce stress and anxiety, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

4 Benefits of Long-Term Disability Insurance

 Long-Term Disability InsuranceA survey recently conducted by an association of financial services and insurance companies found that 65 percent of respondents believed that most people needed disability insurance, but only 48 percent of those respondents believed they personally needed it. Even more worryingly, 20 percent of those respondents actually had disability insurance. Long-term disability insurance is something in which everyone should invest for the following four reasons:

  1. It provides a financial safety net – If you experience a disability as a result of an illness or disability that prevents you from being able to work, long-term disability insurance can help to cover as much as 50 to 60 percent of your income. In fact, some policies will continue to cover you for as long as you can’t work due to your disability until you reach the age of 65.
  2. Long-term disabilities are common – A lot of people think they don’t need long-term disability insurance because they believe the chances of becoming disabled are slim. However, according to the Social Security Administration, as many as 25 percent of people who are currently 20 years old will end up being disabled before they reach their 67th birthday.
  3. Many employers do not provide long-term disability coverage – Many people simply take whatever insurance plan their employer offers. However, only 41 percent of employers offer long-term disability insurance, even though group plans only cost an average of $256 a year. Additionally, many employers are offering the coverage as a voluntary benefit, which means that employees must pay for this premium themselves.
  4. Benefits are tax-free – Employees that end up paying for long-term disability coverage themselves using after-tax dollars, their benefits will be tax-free should they ever need to use their coverage as a result of a disability. This can make voluntary coverage beneficial to employees, but unfortunately, many employees skip the extra cost thinking that the coverage isn’t needed.

These are four reasons why long-term disability insurance is something that everyone should consider purchasing. For more advice or news concerning health insurance, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

November Is Long-Term Care Awareness Month

Long-Term Care Awareness MonthLong-term care involves the need for a range of services and support due to a chronic illness or disability. Generally speaking, long-term care does not involve medical care. Instead, it concerns the need for assistance with the activities of daily living. Many people require long-term care, which is why the month of November was designated as National Long-Term Care Awareness Month.

Long-Term Care Statistics

The following are a few statistics that you should know about long-term care:

  • According to the National Family Caregivers Association, roughly 78 percent of adults that receive care at home depend on friends and family as their only source of care.
  • There are around 45 million informal caregivers in the U.S. and, according to the AARP, the typical caregiver is a woman that’s on average 46 years old.
  • According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers spend around 26 hours a week providing care for a loved one.
  • The Center of American Progress revealed that 41 percent of family caregivers had to take a leave of absence to provide care for a loved one, with 37 percent having to switch from full-time to part-time.
  • According to the Volunteers of America, 29 percent of caregivers use their own savings to provide their loved ones with the long-term care they need.

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

More and more people are requiring long-term care because they are living longer than before. A hundred years ago, the average American life expectancy was only 47. It’s now 78. As far as demographics go, more women need long-term care than men. Around 3 out of four assisted living residents are women and almost twice as many women over 65 are receiving long-term care at home than men. This is in part because women tend to live longer.

The average length of the long-term care a person needs is around three years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Because of this, it’s important to plan for the possibility of long-term care to avoid financial problems. For more health information and advice, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Immune Protein Flutters Like a Butterfly

Immune ProteinThere’s a lot that we do not know about how viruses work; however, the continued work by research teams across the world is changing this. For example, a group of researchers at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School recently pinpointed a vital step in the process that allows the body to fight viruses. In fact, their research also revealed how mutations that derail this process to fight viruses lead to autoimmune disorders.

The Immune System Works Like a Butterfly

A virus spreads by replicating itself within a host cell. The immune system has intricate mechanisms in place that help to defend against both common viruses and emerging viruses. Researchers studied the process in which RIG-I (an immune protein) searches for viral RNAs. Once the RIG-I finds a viral RNA, it activates the antiviral response of the cell in which it was found.

A butterfly constantly flutters to and from anything that looks like a flower. Like a butterfly, the RIG-I immune receptor constantly investigates the RNAs in the cell in order to identify viral RNAs. Essentially, RIG-I (and butterflies) are involved in a continuous cycle of association and disassociation. Once the RIG-I discovers a viral RNA, it stops its search and signals its multiple molecules to gather on the viral RNA, which in turn, activates the antiviral response of the cell.

RIG-I immune receptors are supposed to move on if they do not identify viral RNAs. However, an autoimmune disorder known as Singleton-Merton syndrome interrupts this process. Instead of moving on to other RNAs, mutated versions of the immune receptors remain and become trapped in the RNAs, causing abnormal immune responses.

The research revealing the details of this process could potentially be used to leverage RIG-I immune receptors in both antiviral and cancer therapies. Stay up-to-date on all the latest health-related discoveries and news by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.