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Weekend reads: How to be happy in a recession


The surprising link between regular daytime napping, hypertension, and stroke; whether Skittles are toxic; and more.

Alyssa Nystrom's reads

The surprising link between regular daytime napping, hypertension, and stroke. A peer-reviewed study published Monday in Hypertension found that regular daytime napping in adults "was associated with a 12% higher risk of developing high blood pressure and a 24% high risk of having a stroke compared to never napping." Writing for USA Today, Marina Pitofsky explains why adults who are "usual" daytime nappers are more likely to experience hypertension or stroke.

Social stress may trigger accelerated immune system aging. While everyone's immune systems decline as they age, a new study published in PNAS found that social stress, which comes from challenges related to social standing or relationships with others, may be tied to signs of accelerated immune system decline. Writing for the Washington Post, Eric Klopack details the findings from his research, which clarifies the link between social stress and accelerated immune aging and suggests potential steps to slow immune system aging.  

Allie Rudin's reads

How to be happy in a recession. Whether the next recession is impending or is already upon us, its impacts sting more than just our wallets. People experience increased feelings of helplessness and anxiety, and studies have proven a strong link between Americans' well-being and the country's economic health. Writing for The Atlantic's "How to Build a Life," Arthur Brooks draws on research from economists and psychologists to explain why bad economic periods are such a bummer—and provides guidance on how to cope. While there is no quick fix to a global recession, there are three practices Brooks suggests to help break yourself out of the "cycle of unhappiness."

Are Skittles toxic? What to know about food additive titanium dioxide. A class-action lawsuit filed this month in California claims that Mars, the maker of Skittles, knowingly included a substance in the candy that poses "significant health risk to unsuspecting consumers." The disputed color additive in Skittles is titanium dioxide, a mineral-derived chemical compound that is used for a variety of purposes in food and nonfood items, Rachel Rabkin Peachman writes for the New York Times' "Well." While Mars is already phasing it out of their products sold in Europe, where titanium dioxide is banned in food out of concern it could damage DNA and lead to cancer, there is no such restriction in the U.S. Peachman breaks down the conflicting studies on adverse effects of titanium dioxide and provides advice for consumers who wish to avoid it.


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