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WHAT? Scientists Say We Can Benefit From Aging!

WHAT? Scientists Say We Can Benefit From Aging!

Society at large tells us to fear aging – we have entire industries built upon it (hello anti-wrinkle cream industry and age-related hair-dye conglomerates) and happiness within the media is correlated to beauty, health, and most importantly it seems, youth. However, research has emerged that says that aging gracefully might actually have a whole host of benefits.

Research Shows Mental and Physical Improvements

Research has found that while getting older does have its disadvantages, such as some loss of mobility, and a stronger likelihood of developing some diseases, it also has some advantages – such a reduction in gaining some illnesses, declining allergies, and even increasing and boosting intelligence.

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Many of the benefits associated with aging are to do with the physiological or medical side – for example, the older you get, the less likely you are to catch and suffer with a cold. Research has found that the aging immune system, a topic under strong scrutiny by the scientific community with a rapidly aging population, has a stronger ‘immune memory’; that is, the body’s way of collecting information about how they survived and fought off previous biological attacks (such as viruses, or in this case colds) and adapts the immune system to quicker and better fend off the cold before it can affect you. Simply put, as you age your immune system has more knowledge about how to fight off threats to it, and is better at stopping them before you find yourself with a nasty seasonal cold or flu.

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Aging Helps You Avoid the Next Plague

This ‘immune experience’ as it were, feeds into other benefits – the older you are, the more likely you are to outlive an outbreak of a deadly virus; research into pandemics such as the 2009 swine flu outbreak and the 1918 flu pandemic had more victims in the ‘healthy’ age range of under 65 and 20-40 years old respectively, than older afflicted victims. This is believed to be due to the immune system, strongest in the younger populace, accidentally turning on itself in a ‘cytokine storm’ (when the immune system turns on infectious pathogens, but is too vigorous, killing off healthy cells as well); cytokine storms are, for this reason, less likely in older victims, making them more likely to survive. Older people are also less likely to suffer from less allergies – thanks to lowering levels of Immunoglobulin E which is linked to allergic responses.

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Aging Increases Your Intelligence

Increasing age has also been linked to maintaining or increasing your intelligence levels – the Seattle Longitudinal Study, a study nearly sixty years in the making and still ongoing, has been investigating the mental capacities of humans as they develop throughout their lifetimes, and have found that older people in their forties and fifties are stronger in spatial orientation, verbal memory, problem solving abilities, and vocabulary, than participants in their twenties, at a time in the mainstream when humans are considered to be at their ‘peak’. Researchers in the study believe this is down to stronger collective memory and maybe even a higher level of confidence in their own abilities at this point.

Aging Provides You with Some Fun, Too!

Aging also has some more fun side effects, that might well be enjoyed their younger contemporaries – such as better sex, for example. While this may sound like some incongruous boasting, studies have shown that people in their sixties (74% of men and 70% of women, to be exact) report having more sexual enjoyment and pleasure than they did when they were in their forties. This is believed due to higher sexual confidence about their bodies and in knowing what they want from experiences in the bedroom.

More fun side effects of aging include experiencing fewer migraines, perspiring less – thanks to shrinking sweat glands as people enter their middle age years – and can even cheat death for longer… mathematically at least. The older people get, the more likely we are to see another year, even as we reach the average age for our time. Maybe it’s not the secret to the Fountain of Youth, but whoever said there had to be so much wrong with aging gracefully?

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More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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