Sex at an Older Age Could Make You Happier and Healthier – Research

Sexual activity is an essential part of intimate relationships, though it tends to decline as people get older. But although research shows that frequency of sexual activity can decrease with age, for many older people, sex still remains an important part of their life.

There’s a common misconception that as people age, they lose their interest in sex and capacity for sexual behaviour. But as a UK survey shows, this isn’t the case.

Indeed, the survey found that 85% of men aged 60–69 report being sexually active – as do 60% of those aged 70–79 and 32% of those aged 80 and over. Women were found to be less sexually active as they aged, but studies show that, just like men, many women also want to continue to have sex as they get older. Studies in the US report similar levels of sexual activity across these age groups.

And the fact that so many people are still having sex as they age is good news, because as our new research seems to indicate, the less sex older people have, the more likely they are to experience mental and physical health problems.

Still at it

Our research looked at the sex lives of 2,577 men and 3,195 women aged 50 and older. We asked whether they had experienced a decline in the last year in their level of sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, or ability to have an erection (men) or become sexually aroused (women).

We found that men who reported a decline in sexual desire were more likely to go on to develop cancer or other chronic illnesses that limited their daily activities. Men and women who reported a decrease in the frequency of sexual activities were also more likely to experience a deterioration in how they rated their level of health. And men with erectile dysfunction were also more likely to be diagnosed with cancer or coronary heart disease. It’s important to note, however, that changes in sexual desire or function could have been a result of early-stage, undiagnosed disease.

Our research also found that older adults enjoy life more when they are sexually active. And those who experience a decline in sexual activity report poorer well-being than those who maintain their levels of sexual desire, activity and function in later life. We also found that men who are sexually active in later life continue to have better cognitive performance compared to those who don’t.

Feel good hormones

It’s no secret that sex can help to produce that “feel good” factor. This is largely because during sex, there is a release of endorphins, which generate a happy or elated feeling. This doesn’t just impact our mental health though, as higher endorphin levels are also associated with greater activation of the immune system – which may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Research suggests that people who engage in sexual intercourse with their partner are also likely to share a closer relationship. And closeness to one’s partner is linked with better mental health.

It’s also important to remember that sex is a form of physical activity – often performed at a moderate intensity – which burns close to four calories a minute. All exercise comes with health benefits – and sex is no different. So it’s definitely possible that you could gain mental and physical health benefits from regular sexual activity.

Trying new positions

Of course, sex is not the only factor that can help to improve health and well-being in older age. But as our research shows, older adults are not devoid of sexual desire, and an active sex life is something that should be encouraged. Indeed, it’s possible that a regular and problem-free sex life can lead to better mental (and possibly physical) health.

But information on and encouragement to try new sexual positions and explore different types of sexual activity isn’t regularly given to older people. And in many cases, when it comes to older people and sex, doctors often put their heads in the sand, and don’t really want to talk about it.

But it may well be that such discussions could help to challenge norms and expectations about sexual activity. And as our research shows, it could also help people to live more fulfilling and healthier lives – well into older age.

Explore Further:

To explore our range of branded intimate health products, please visit our main website, where you’ll also find a wide range of pharmaceutical-free options for the promotion of better mental & physical health and peak performance. You’ll find our home page, here

About The Authors and Source material:

The authors of this article are: Lee Smith, Reader in Physical Activity and Public Health, Anglia Ruskin University; Daragh McDermott, Head of School, School of Psychology and Sport Science, Anglia Ruskin University and Sarah Jackson, Research Psychologist, Health Behaviour Research Centre, UCL.

This article first appeared in the academic discussion journal ‘The Conversation’ on 23rd September, 2019 and is reproduced here under CCL copyright provisions. To view the original article, includeing active links to all references, please see here 

Looking to Start the School Year on the Right Foot? Get More Sleep!

 By Ryan Meldrum

There is a palpable buzz at the beginning of every school year. There are new classes, new teachers and new friends to be mande. The start of a new school year – not unlike New Year’s Eve – is often accompanied by an optimistic outlook to do better, be better and accomplish more.

As you think about the strategies you might use to achieve these goals, it’s worth considering the merits of getting enough shut-eye.

The old adage of the importance of getting eight hours of sleep at night exists for a reason. Sleep plays a crucial role in washing away the waste that gets built up between our brain cells as a result of all the thinking we do every day.

Sleep helps us transform our short-term memories into long-term ones. Getting a good night’s sleep also makes you more alert, attentive and able to concentrate. Do you see a theme emerging? If you think about the things needed to do well in school, many of them align with the things that a good night’s sleep helps to promote.

But it’s not just in the classroom where sleep will benefit you. Many student-athletes are looking for ways to find that extra edge to outperform their competitors. Why consider more sleep? It aids in muscle recovery, increases reactions times and ensures your immune system is humming on all cylinders. Again, these are things essential to being able to perform at one’s peak abilities.

Don’t take my word for it. Professional athletes like LeBron James, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo all consider sleep to be a critical part of their regimen for success.

Then there’s the growing body of evidence suggesting that a lack of sleep can increase symptoms of depression, anxiety and irritability. There is also evidence that a lack of sleep decreases self-control. Given the known links between lack of self-control, poor health and problematic behavior, it might come as no surprise that young adults who consistently sleep less than eight hours at night are more likely to be overweight, to engage in risk-taking behaviour (such as texting and driving), to use drugs and to engage in violence.

So, what can you do in order to get more restful, high quality sleep at night and boost your chances of starting the new school year on the right foot?

Stop drinking caffeinated beverages after 3 p.m. Caffeine is a stimulant. It makes it harder for you to fall asleep when you want. While this might seem obvious, what is less widely known is that it takes several hours for caffeine to be fully metabolised by the body. Pulling an all-nighter studying for exams by slamming back energy drinks? You would be better served going to bed at 9 p.m. without any caffeine in your system and waking up at 5 a.m. well-rested and ready to do more studying. Better yet, don’t wait until the night before the exam to start studying

Stop using electronics an hour before going to sleep. If you aren’t familiar with blue light, it’s a wavelength of light that is emitted by TVs, phones, computers and tablets. It suppresses melatonin, which helps our brains to shut down and fall asleep. Of course, if you can’t let go of your phone before bed, you can purchase blue-light blocking glasses on the cheap, and many TVs, computers and phones have settings that can reduce blue light emission (e.g., the “night” mode on smart phone apps like Twitter).

Avoid alcohol. For older students, who think getting a good buzz from alcohol may help you fall sleep more quickly, you should know that the quality of that sleep will not do much with regard to helping you earn better grades. This is because alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which helps your brain retain what you have learned during the day.

Explore Further:

To explore pharmaceutical-free options for the promotion of better sleep please see here

For ways to help optimise your learning and academic performance see here 

To explore our complete range of medication-free options to support health, wellbeing and peak performance, then the best starting point is our home page, here

About The Author and Source material:

Ryan Meldrum is associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the Florida International University. He researches the links between sleep and outcomes ranging from self-control, obesity, substance use, drunk driving and suicidal tendencies. The material for this article was provided to us by the press office of the Florida International University (FIU) on August 26, 2019.  It is reproduced here with permission. The article has undegone minor editiorial amendments to account for British English spelling and our primarily European readership. To visit FIU, see here

Dating Apps: Here’s What Compulsive Users Have in Common

Two attributes mark those who suffer negative outcomes

Loneliness and social anxiety is a bad combination for single people who use dating apps on their phones, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people who fit this profile are more likely than others to say they’ve experienced negative outcomes because of their dating app use.

“It’s not just that they’re using their phone a lot,” said Kathryn Coduto, lead author of the study and doctoral student in communication at The Ohio State University.

“We had participants who said they were missing school or work, or getting in trouble in classes or at work because they kept checking the dating apps on their phones.”

Coduto said it is a problem she has seen firsthand.

I’ve seen people who use dating apps compulsively. They take their phones out when they’re at dinner with friends or when they’re in groups. They really can’t stop swiping,” she said.

The study was published recently online in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and will appear in a future print edition.

Participants were 269 undergraduate students with experience using one or more dating apps. All answered questions designed to measure their loneliness and social anxiety (for example, they were asked if they were constantly nervous around other people).

Compulsive use was measured by asking participants how much they agreed with statements like “I am unable to reduce the amount of time I spend on dating apps.”

Participants also reported negative outcomes from using dating apps, such as missing class or work or getting in trouble because they were on their phones.

Results showed, not surprisingly, that socially anxious participants preferred to meet and talk to potential dating partners online rather than in person. They tended to agree with statements like “I am more confident socializing on dating apps than offline.”

But that alone didn’t lead them to compulsively use dating apps, Coduto said.

“If they were also lonely, that’s what made the problem significant,” she said.

“That combination led to compulsive use and then negative outcomes.”

Coduto said people need to be aware of their dating app use and consider whether they have a problem. If they have trouble setting limits for themselves, they can use apps that restrict dating app use to certain times of day or to a set amount of time each day.

“Especially if you’re lonely, be careful in your choices. Regulate and be selective in your use,” she said.

Coduto’s co-authors on the study were Roselyn Lee-Won, associate professor of communication at Ohio State, and Young Min Baek of Yonsei University in Korea

Explore more:

To explore the latest developments in managing anxiety (including social anxiety) without resorting to medication, please see here. To explore our complete range of medication-free health and wellbeing products, please feel free to visit our home page

About the author and source material:

This article was first published here on 16th August, 2019 and is adapted from an original press release written by Jeff Grabmeier, of the Ohio State University News Service. Visit the OSU website here

StressChecker: Home-Use Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback for Optimum Health and Wellbeing

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