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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bedtime worries

Are you getting enough sleep?
by Eveline Gan 

Updated 05:15 PM Mar 16, 2010
Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Sleeping with Your BabyRestful Insomnia: How to Get the Benefits of Sleep Even When You Can'tWhy Sleep? Your Guide to the Benefits of Sleep

IT WAS almost midnight when I started my research for this story.

Along the way, I got distracted by a friend's MSN message. We chatted for a while before I returned to my work.

By the time I decided to go to bed, I was simply too wired up to sleep, so I fiddled with my mobile phone and played my favourite game. I finally willed myself into a fitful sleep after 3am.

Needless to say, I was a wreck when my daughter woke me up at 9am the next morning.

A good number of people may find the above scenario familiar.

Inadequate sleep may sometimes be due to sleep disorders. However, in many cases, people often do not have enough sleep because they voluntarily choose to forgo sleep for other activities, said sleep experts.

While there are no formal statistics, Dr Lim Li Ling, president of the Singapore Sleep Society, reckoned that many adult Singaporeans do not get the daily six to eight hours of sleep that is needed for optimal well-being.

"Lack of sleep is a common and largely under-recognised cause of daytime sleepiness and other health problems in countries such as Singapore, where the lifestyle is hectic and round-the-clock activities (such as online shopping and games) are available," said Dr Lim, who is also the medical director and consultant neurologist at the Singapore Neurology and Sleep Centre at Gleneagles Medical Centre.

According to her, most people who have problems falling asleep generally have bad habits that are not conducive to healthy sleep.

"For example, it is common to see people work till late at night, and thus do not have enough of a wind-down period. This can make falling asleep difficult because the mind is not relaxed enough."

Dr Lim added that she noticed that most people do not get enough physical exercise and use stimulants such as caffeine to stay alert, habits which can affect one's quality of sleep. Long daytime naps, stress and eating late can also interfere with sleep.

To encourage Singaporeans to sleep more, the Singapore Sleep Society is introducing the Sleep An Hour More Movement when its Singapore Sleep Awareness Week (SSAW) launches this Friday.

The society is urging Singaporeans to "switch off your mobile phone, computer or TV, tuck in early, sleep in later or take a nap in the day", in order to sleep an extra hour each day (bosses, are you reading this?) during the 10-day campaign to feel the physical differences.

For obvious reasons, chronic sleep deprivation can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue and weariness, lack of concentration, irritability, a lousy mood, as well as affect cognitive function such as problem solving, learning and memory, said Dr Jenny Tang, medical director of SBCC Asthma Lung Sleep and Allergy Centre at Gleneagles Medical Centre. It can also affect one's immunity.

Lesser known negative effects include risking a bigger waistline.

Explained Dr Tang: "When people are sleep deprived, there is a chance that there will be a change in the balance of their appetite hormones, which results in a bigger appetite and desire to eat more."

She added that heart palpitation could also occur when people overuse stimulant substances such as caffeinated beverages to counter sleepiness.

"Through raising awareness of the many serious health issues which can arise from long term lack of good quality sleep, we hope to encourage more people to make sleep a priority for the sake of their emotional and physical wellbeing," said Dr Lim.

Good night, and good luck

Sleep tight with these tips from sleep expert Dr Lim Li Ling.

- Work out a sweat. Exercise helps one feel relaxed and less stressed, but don't exercise for at least four hours before bedtime.

- Avoid alcohol near to bedtime. And don't drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee and colas eight to 10 hours before bedtime.

- Have a bedtime routine that can help you unwind. Don't think about work before you sleep! Also, steer clear of stimulating activities such as online games before bedtime.

- Ditch heavy suppers. Eating close to bedtime can cause symptoms such as heartburn, which can disturb sleep.

- Go to bed and get up at about the same time every night and day respectively, including weekends. This will help anchor your circadian (biological) clock and establish a consistent rhythm of sleep.

- Use the bed mainly for sleeping and sex, not other activities. Can't get to sleep after 20 mins? Get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity like light reading and go back to bed when you feel sleepy.

Does what you sleep on matter?

According to Dr Lim, most " average" mattresses and pillows are good enough for normal sleepers.

"Of course, a lousy sleeping surface can affect normal sleepers, such as a cold hard concrete floor or a mattress that is lumpy and causing back pain - but most people do not have to contend with such challenging situations," she said.

She added that people who suffer from sleep problems may need to make more effort to make the bedroom environment more conducive to sleep. "This could include air-conditioning, soft or firm pillows ... whatever the patient prefers."

From; see the source article here.

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Friday, March 26, 2010


How I Play Golf

A view of Tiger Woods as he walks off the 8th ...Image via Wikipedia
Woods coming out of his shell?

LONDON - In his first interviews in four months since he smashed his car on Nov 27 outside his Florida home, Tiger Woods said that he has been "living a lie" until a sex scandal shattered his image and made him the butt of jokes on talk-shows.

In the two separate five-minute interviews with ESPN and The Golf Channel, which were shown simultaneously on Sunday (yesterday morning, Singapore time), Woods said he had to face up to the "ugly" truth of his affairs after doing some soul searching with a therapist's help.

"You strip away the denial, the rationalisation and you come to the truth," he said.

"And the truth is very painful at times, and to stare at yourself and look at the person you've become, you become disgusted."

Why marry in the first place?

Woods announced his return at the Masters next month after four months of self-imposed exile, which included 45 days in a southern US rehabilitation clinic.

He has not played since winning the Australian Masters in mid-November after a sex scandal in which he admitted having several affairs behind the back of his wife Elin, with whom he has a two-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.

In Sunday's interviews, which were taped near his home in Windermere, Florida, Woods was far more relaxed and animated than he was during his live 15-minute apology a month ago.

That Feb 19 appearance was a tightly controlled and scripted show, with only a few handpicked reporters in attendance and no questions allowed.

Though the questions from Tom Rinaldi and Kelly Tilghman of The Golf Channel were as probative as the format allowed, Woods did not reveal a great deal more than he had in his original apology.

But he did reveal some.

After asking about the events of Nov 27, and following up with a question about what specifically Woods was treated for - "That's a private matter," the golfer replied - Rinaldi threw the equivalent of a fastball high and inside.

The ESPN reporter asked Woods why he got married in the first place.

"Why?" Woods said. "Because I loved her. I loved her with everything I have. That's what makes me feel even worse, to do this to someone I loved that much."

Woods also described the painful process of coming clean to Elin and his mother.

"I had a lot of low points. Just when I didn't think it could get any lower it got lower," he said.

"There were so many different low points. People I had to talk to and face like my wife, like my mom.

"I hurt them the most. Those are the two people in my life who I am the closest to and to say the things that I've done, truthfully to them, is ... honestly ... was ... very painful."

An uncertain future
Woods visibly perked up in the interviews whenever the questioning turned to golf.

"I'm excited to get back and play," he said.

"I miss the game. I miss playing. I miss competing ... I'm starting to get my feel back. I know how to play the golf course and that helps a lot. I've just got to play it."

As he is going to continue with therapy, Woods said, his post-Masters schedule is uncertain.

"I will have more treatment, more therapy sessions," the 34-year-old said.

"As far as my schedule going forward, I don't know what I'm going to do ... That to me is a little bit bothersome, too, in a sense that I don't like not knowing what to do.

"But what I know I have to do is become a better person, and that begins with going to more treatment." Agencies

From, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010----------

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Retailing on Three Continents: Discount Food Stores of Albert Gubay
A rare and vanishing breed...

LONDON - Albert Gubay, the multi-millionaire Kwik Save tycoon, has given his vast business empire to charity to fulfil a "pact with God" that he made as a young man struggling to earn a living.

The devout Roman Catholic vowed to hand over half his fortune to the Church if he ever became rich when he was working as a penniless sweets-seller in Wales after the Second World War.

At the age of 82, he has fulfilled the deal by giving almost his entire £480 million ($1 billion) estate to a new charitable foundation, keeping less than £10 million to see out his old age. Mr Gubay, who amassed his riches after founding the Kwik Save supermarket chain in 1965, will continue running his companies until he dies and hopes to push the value of his empire to more than £1 billion.

The Welsh tycoon has stipulated that half the income must be invested in the Roman Catholic Church, in line with his "pact". He said he had told God in his prayers: "Make me a millionaire and you can have half of my money."

Taken from, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010

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Somebody has thought of the burqa's other creative use... theft with concealed identify...

DHAKA - Bangladesh's largest state-run hospital has banned staff from wearing full-face burqas after an increase in thefts of mobile phones and wallets from wards, a hospital chief said yesterday.

Female staff have been ordered to wear standard uniforms, which do not cover either the hair or face, while on duty at the Bangabandhu Medical University Hospital in Dhaka, said senior administrator Abdul Majid Bhuiyan.

"We decided to enforce our uniform regulations after discovering instances of stealing by veiled staff," he said, adding some burqa-wearing staff had also been secretly sending unqualified "proxy workers" to cover shifts for them.

Only a small number of women working at the hospital wear the full-face veil, he said. "Doctors have also said burqa-clad women who travel to work on crowded public buses then do not change into regulation uniform could carry diseases into the hospital." 

Bangladesh has the world's fourth-largest Muslim population. Islam is the state religion although only a minority of women wear the burqa. AFP
From, Tuesday, 23-Mar-2010----------

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Too much, or simply just barbaric?

Emblem of AfghanistanImage via Wikipedia

'Shaming' her in-laws costs 19 year old her nose, ears

"When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out," 19-year-old Bibi Aisha of Afghanistan says with chilling candor.

Her beauty is still stunning and her confidence inspiring. It takes a moment for the barbaric act committed against her to register in your mind and sight.

Wearing her patterned scarf and with roughly painted nails she shares her story.

"It felt like there was cold water in my nose, I opened my eyes and I couldn't even see because of all the blood," she remembers.

It was an act of Taliban justice for the crime of shaming her husband's family.
This story began when Aisha was just 8 years old.

Her father had promised her hand in marriage, along with that of her baby sister's, to another family in a practice called "baad."

"Baad" in Pashtunwali, the law of the Pashtuns, is a way to settle a dispute between rival families.

At 16, she was handed over to her husband's father and 10 brothers, who she claims were all members of the Taliban in Oruzgan province. Aisha didn't even meet her husband because he was off fighting in Pakistan.

"I spent two years with them and became a prisoner," she says. (Watch more of the interview with Aisha)

Tortured and abused, she couldn't take it any longer and decided to run away. Two female neighbors promising to help took her to Kandahar province.

But this was just another act of deception.

When they arrived to Kandahar her female companions tried to sell Aisha to another man.

All three women were stopped by the police and imprisoned. Aisha was locked up because she was a runaway. And although running away is not a crime, in places throughout Afghanistan it is treated as one if you are a woman.

A three-year sentence was reduced to five months when President Hamid Karzai pardoned Aisha. But eventually her father-in-law found her and took her back home.

That was the first time she met her husband. He came home from Pakistan to take her to Taliban court for dishonoring his family and bringing them shame.

The court ruled that her nose and ears must be cut off. An act carried out by her husband in the mountains of Oruzgan where they left her to die.

But she survived.

And with the help of an American Provincial Reconstruction Team in Oruzgan and the organization Women for Afghan Women (WAW), she is finally getting the help and protection she needs.

Offers have been pouring in to help Aisha, but there are many more women suffering in silence.

The United Nations estimates that nearly 90 percent of Afghanistan's women suffer from some sort of domestic abuse. This in a country where there are only about eight women's shelters to provide sanctuary from the cruelty they face. And all of the eight are privately run.

"Bibi Aisha is only one example of thousands of girls and women in Afghanistan and throughout the world who are treated this way - who suffer abuses like this, like this and worse," says board member for WAW, Esther Hyneman.

In 2001, the situation of Afghan women and Taliban brutality received plenty of attention. Now organizations like WAW say the international community is strangely silent on the issue.

Hyneman says not enough is being done to help the women in Afghanistan and that feeds into the hands of the insurgency.

"When you have ... 50 percent of a population on their knees, it's very easy for extremists, tyrants to take over a country," she adds. "They have a ready-made enslaved population."

Aisha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror.

But there still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice.

This story is part of CNN's Impact Your World project.

From; see the source article here.

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