Long weekend reads: 'Blue Monday' is around the corner—but is it really the saddest day of the year?

Ben Palmer's reads

Getting less than 6 hours of sleep? Your heart may need more, research says. Getting less than six hours of sleep each night could put you at an increased risk of developing heart disease, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. For the study, researchers attached accelerometers to the waists of 3,974 healthy individuals and measured the duration and quality of their sleep. They found that, when compared with people who slept between seven and eight hours every night, individuals who got less than six hours of sleep were 27% more likely to be in the highest one-third for plaque buildup in their arteries. Valentin Fuster, co-author of the study and director of the Mount Sinai Heart Center, said, "We're detecting disease in its earliest stages in apparently healthy young people. … This is an alarm system, telling you that there is another cardiovascular risk factor you should pay attention to."

Do jade rollers really work? Jade roller have become increasingly popular as a purported "wellness" product, with advocates claiming the rollers can help clear toxins from your face, decrease puffiness, reduce wrinkles, and improve inflammatory skin conditions. But do they actually work? According to Suzanne Friedler, a dermatologist, jade rollers work about as well as any other facial massager if they're used correctly. "Any time you massage any of the tissues, you're increasing circulation," she said. "Your skin may look brighter, more luminous, maybe more contoured and less puffy. But if you're looking for substantive change, that's not going to happen with the jade roller. It's also not going to have an effect on inflammatory conditions like eczema of psoriasis." Separately, Susan Bard, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, added that jade roller users should be careful about the roller's potential to transmit bacteria.

Danielle Poindexter's reads

'Blue Monday' is around the corner—but is it really all that bleak? The third Monday in January—which falls on the 21st this year—is often called "Blue Monday," or the saddest day of the year. It got that name based on calculations from a Cardiff University researcher that assessed factors such as weather, debt levels, and the length of time passed since Christmas and any failed New Year's resolutions to identify the saddest day of the year. However, Isabella Goldie, director of development and delivery for the Mental Health Foundation, said Blue Monday is no more depressing than any other day. Rather, she explained that the day was established "to sell summer holidays" and "promote and sell things." While Goldie acknowledged that colder weather conditions can affect mental health, she said that "major risk factors for" poor mental health cannot be "confined to one month, let alone one day."

A group of hackers ordered over 2,000 DNA testing kits—and sent them to strangers. Using stolen credit cards, a group of hackers ordered 2,400 DNA testing kits from MyHeritage in order to steal the $10 gift cards offered through the company's "Refer a Friend" offer. The hackers started buying the tests through the company's special holiday offer on Christmas Eve, but, instead of referring a friend, they sent the testing kits to random addresses so they could pocket the gift card money. "We started suspecting fraud on Dec. 24th, stopped issuing Amazon gift cards on Dec. 26th, and we terminated the program on Jan 1st," said Rafi Mendelsohn, director of public relations for MyHeritage. And while $10 might not seem like enough money to warrant a scam of that magnitude, the plan, if successful, would have had a $24,000 payoff.


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