5 Science-Backed Effects of Sleep Deprivation

According to SingHealth, almost half of Singaporeans don’t get enough sleep. A whopping 44% of us are sleep deprived, a number higher than the figures in the US (where only around 35% percent are sleep deprived). Modern-day habits, like a drive for higher productivity and the use of artificial lighting, are making us sleep less and less. While we know that sleep is important, is it really that bad to be sleep deprived? Here are a few science-backed effects of the lack of sleep, and why it’s bad for your health.

1. Lowered productivity
All around the world, many accidents are caused by a lack of sleep, from car crashes to oil spills. This is due to the fact that when we sleep, our neurons are repaired, creating better connections and solidifying memories. Without sleep, your brain doesn’t perform as well as it could, making you sluggish and prone to mistakes. You are also prone to slower reaction times, making you move more slowly and making you do less work than usual.

2. Lowered levels of cognition
When you’re sleep deprived, your brain finds it harder to process and store information. In other words, it’s harder to learn when your brain lacks sleep. And since your brain cannot solidify previously acquired memories, you would have trouble applying the things you have learned in the past, hampering your progress in learning a new skill or information.

3. Lowered immunity
For those of you who are prone to pulling all-nighters, chances are you have noticed that you get sick more often. This is because sleep deprivation impairs the immune system, the system that helps fight off bacteria that leads to colds and the flu. Sleep deprivation also affects the reaction of the body to harmful bacteria; simply put, the less sleep you have, the less effective your body is in fending coughs and colds.

4. Increased risk of diabetes
Diabetes is an illness that affects the production of insulin, which leads to high levels of glucose in the body. When sleep deprived, insulin production is also altered in the body, leading to a higher risk of diabetes, along with other diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure.

5. Lowered mental health and wellbeing
Most of us are cranky and irritable if we had a bad night’s rest. Tossing and turning during the night can turn to arguments and moodiness during the day, which can distance us from colleagues and loved ones. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. This isn’t surprising, considering that sleep deprivation also leads to a brain that has a harder time on concentrating, which can lead to frustration and irritability.

5 Money-Saving Tips and Tricks

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore continues to top the charts as the most expensive city to live in. Learning how to save money is an important skill, but even more so if you live in the most expensive city in the world. It’s not too hard to get into the habit of saving; sometimes, the hardest part is just to start. To help you keep the habit, however, here are a few tips to help you keep the money-saving habit.

1. Remember the goal of budgeting.
One of the things that can hinder your budgeting is forgetting the big picture. There are many people who think that they should record every cent they spend. However, if you’re still spending your money on things that aren’t important, tracking your expenses don’t really help. So, always keep in mind that the goal of budgeting isn’t to track every single cent, but to spend money on the things that really matter to us.

2. Track your expenses—but only for a limited time.
Tracking your expenses, at least for a limited time, can help you understand your spending habits. Once you have that information in hand, you could figure out which habits you should change and which ones you should keep. A good timeframe for tracking your expenses is the time between one salary and the next to get the full picture of what happens to the money that you earn.

3. Put your savings first.
Most people put their savings last, putting away the money left over after spending their money on essentials. However, chances are not everything they spend are not essentials, and that most of the things they bought are unnecessary. Putting your savings first can help you budget your money properly, making sure that you treat your savings like any other important expense, instead of just an after-thought.

4. Have a goal to save for.
Having a goal has been proven to help you stick to your habits. Think about the things that you would like to save for, like a vacation or a new piece of electronics. Then, figure out how long you would need to save for it, and how much you would need to save. If you’re having trouble with the math, there are resources available online that can calculate your goals and help you keep track, like apps and spreadsheets.

5. Use apps and resources to help you.
There are many budgeting applications online or as an app, ranging from free apps to subscriptions. There are those that simply track your expenses, while there are those that go into more detail, with charts and graphs that can calculate your budget for the future. There are even apps that connect to your bank accounts and credit cards to automatically record your expenses so that you won’t have a hard time keeping track of your budget.

What You Need to Know About Zika Virus

Although zika virus has been documented for some time, it has caught the attention of the media recently because of a rise of cases in several countries. Most people now associate the then-harmless disease with congenital defects on newborn babies whose mothers are infected by the virus.

Here are some of the things we know about zika so far.

Zika Outbreaks in Previous Years
Zika was first described in 1947 among monkeys and in 1952 among humans. There were also recorded outbreaks in subtropical and tropical countries from the 1960s to the 1980s, although the symptoms were, and still are, often considered milder than other mosquito-borne diseases. It was only in 2015 that the virus was associated with the Guillain-Barre syndrome and microcephaly among infants that it has taken the spotlight.

How Zika is Transmitted
Studies are still ongoing about the virus to find a treatment, but its known primary mode of transmission is through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, the same genus that is responsible for deadly diseases such as dengue. Researchers are still studying the possibility of virus transmission through blood and other bodily fluids, because there are studies that show the virus can also be found in other body fluids such as the urine, eye fluids, saliva, and semen.

Diagnosis of Zika Virus Infection
People who suspect that they are infected with the virus will need to have their travel history checked before tests on blood and body fluid samples can be done. The incubation period of the virus is still unknown, and the symptoms are milder than those shown among individuals infected with dengue, for example. The symptoms go away after a few days and sometimes do not even need any treatment. What makes zika infection dangerous, however, is if the infected individual is pregnant. Studies in recent years show that the virus causes brain abnormalities in the baby. It is still unclear if it also causes other neurological disorders in newborns.

Zika Virus and Sexual Transmission
Although studies are still scarce about the connection of zika infection to sexual transmission, some researchers suspect that it might be linked to pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that couples should use contraceptives for a six-month period in areas where zika outbreaks have occurred to prevent adverse pregnancies. Expectant mothers are also advised not to travel to countries affected by the virus to prevent such complications.

What is Typhoid Fever?

Although typhoid is no longer common nowadays because of the vaccines and better overall sanitation, families still need to take steps to prevent infection, especially when preparing their food.

Typhoid Fever
Simply put, typhoid fever is a type of infection caused by the Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi found in food and water. Doctors consider it a serious illness that sometimes show similar symptoms to other diseases. The danger of ignoring these seemingly harmless symptoms is the possibility of them developing into life-threatening complications. There is also a similar disease caused by the Salmonella Paratyphi A, B, and C called paratyphoid fever, which might be confused with typhoid.

Typhoid Symptoms
Symptoms vary among affected individuals, although they will exhibit these common signs of typhoid fever, such as; fever, headache and nausea, constipation or diarrhea, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. Typhoid fever may be mistaken for another illness, especially if the symptoms are mild, but ignoring these can place the person’s life in danger. A persistent of high-lasting fever should be a red flag that the person needs medical attention. The severity and the type of complication from typhoid fever also vary, that is why the number of fatalities are still high.

Typhoid Vaccine
Travelers are often advised to get one of the two vaccines available before traveling to countries that are at high risk. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends two vaccines; such as the live attenuated oral Ty21a vaccine and the injectable polysaccharide vaccine. The former is recommended for individuals older than five years, while the latter is recommended for individuals two years and older.

Typhoid Prevention
Besides getting any of the two vaccines, you still need to observe sanitary practices when preparing your food. The vaccines after all are only 50% to 80% effective. The doctor will advise you to be careful when buying or preparing your food and drinks, especially if you travel to areas where the disease is common. As a precaution, make sure that your food is always served cooked and hot, dairy products are pasteurized, and the vegetables and fruits are washed in clean water. Avoid raw or undercooked or soft-cooked food, food made with fresh ingredients, and food served at room temperature.

Typhoid Treatment
Once the presence of the bacteria is detected in the blood, urine or stool, treatment begins with the prescription of antibiotics to fight off the Salmonella bacteria. However, doctors are careful when identifying the type of antibiotic that should be used, because it has to be based on the geographic region and the individual’s resistance. Usually, improvements can be seen within a period of ten days with proper care and medication. In some cases, the individual’s gallbladder is removed if the symptoms are severe. If left untreated, typhoid fever can lead to pneumonia or intestinal perforation.

Best Mobile Apps for Running

Singapore’s running scene has been on the rise. Almost every week there are running events here and there, giving each runner, whether a local or a tourist, a tour of the city as well as the trails. Or maybe you’re not a diehard runner and you just want to run to keep your body (and lungs) in shape? Here are the best running apps, as per experience, which could help you hone your running skills.

Runtastic GPS Running App
The Runtastic GPS Running App is one of the basic running apps out there. This was the first app that I used when I was still starting my healthy lifestyle. Yes, it was user-friendly, not much confusing icons whatsoever, pretty basic. It’s also a multi-sport app since it does not only record your run but also your cycling activities. It’s also compatible with Apple Watch and Android Wear. So if you want to start on that running lifestyle you’ve been putting off for months now and you want an app to record your activities, this is the right one for you.

Freelectics Running
On a personal note, I swear my life on this app. This not only records my long distance run, but this also helped me step up my cardio game, made me lose tons of weight, and enhanced my endurance and stamina as a dragon boat paddler. This app also trains you to become a better runner, whether you have to do short distance or long distance races.

The app has different training plans for each need. The free version has 4 workout plans, though you need to subscribe to unlock all workouts and have a personalized training plan. And the cool thing here? Each workout is named after Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, and every after your workout, you’ll hear your “coach” say “Great job, Athlete!” Now, who doesn’t want that?

Strava Running and Cycling GPS
After how many years of being an on-and-off athlete, I have found a home in Strava. What I like about this app is that you can categorize your run into three: you can tag it as a long run, a race, or a workout. Also, you can push your limits by signing up for their monthly running or cycling challenges. The app, being a social media app too, can also detect Strava-registered clubs in your area where you can join if you wish.

Now, the fun part: you can gain trophies if you break your records, you can add your shoes and bike in your “Gears”, it’s a multi-sport app, and you can connect it to any GPS multi-sport watches, cycling devices, and activity trackers! I even discovered that you can connect your Garmin watch to the app, and that’s a plus! The only downside here is, the app would crash if you’re using an Android phone, so I just use my iPhone during my runs.

The Key Benefits of Eating More Spicy Foods (You Never Knew Existed)

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds from all around the world, especially in Singapore, eat spicy food for the unique sensation it makes in our mouths.

However, that’s not all you can get from indulging in spicy food (if you haven’t already). It may not be an elixir of immortality, but eating spicy food at least once a day can certainly help you live longer overall. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. They may reduce your risk of cancer
Capsaicin, the chemical naturally found in peppers that triggers spiciness, has been found to activate certain cell receptors in your intestinal lining, which could reduce the risk of developing tumors later in life.

Other types of spices can help fight cancer as well: for instance, turmeric can actively help your body fight leukemic cells, while black pepper can increase your body’s resistance to forming tumors.

2. They can help you lose weight
Capsaicin is a fat- and alcohol-soluble chemical, which is likely to be the reason why it has been observed to help burn stored calories. It has also been found to increase metabolism and counter the process known as metabolic decline.

Another health benefit related to losing weight is that capsaicin lowers blood pressure. This is because it signals the release of neuropeptides in the brain, which have two different effects: they induce the burning sensation, but also; they signal a reduction in blood pressure.

3. Spicy food boosts your mood in general
Eating spicy foods has been found to make the brain release more neurochemicals (e.g. endorphins, serotonin) that make you feel happier. It has even been found to increase activity in your cerebral opioid system, which is responsible for bringing out a feeling of euphoria.

These in turn can help fight depression and anxiety in the long run, which can greatly improve your mental health.

4. Capsaicin does wonders to relieve pain
Eating spicy foods may cause temporary pain in your taste buds. However, when applied topically, it can make the pain go away instead. Capsaicin is in fact an important component in topical creams and patches that ironically numbs the pain by producing an intense burning sensation.

Chili peppers are not the only spicy food available that has amazing health benefits – in fact, almost every spice you find in dishes has their own health benefits.

For instance, ginseng has been linked to weight loss and lowering your risk of diabetes, and cinnamon, black pepper, and mustard speed up your metabolism by lowering your blood sugar and burning calories.

A Quick Guide to Singapore’s Famous Hawker Centers

A visit to Singapore won’t be complete without enjoying a meal or two at their convenient, famous hawker centers. These hawker places are known to provide quality dining experience to satisfy guests without making them break the bank. With Singaporean cuisine’s rich infusion of cultural influences (Chinese, Indian, Malay and Indo), your meal at one of these stalls is surely something to look forward to!

But before you begin to browse through the popular and most positively-reviewed hawker centers in Singapore, it is important that you have enough background about the local hawker culture. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind:

1. Choping
Learning how to chope and how choping works in Singapore hawker centers is ideal especially if you’re planning a visit soon. Guests leave small packet tissues on tables purposely – indicating that this particular table has been reserved or “chopped”. Other items which are commonly used to chop a table are pens and even smartphones. So, don’t be surprised at the sight of these items on the tables especially on a busy night!

2. Check the hawker stall rating
In accordance with local laws, each hawker stall is obliged to prominently display a rating to let people know how safe the food they serve are. The ratings range from A, B, and C. You can eat in peace at hawker stalls with A and B ratings – but Cs are considered to be for the brave of heart! We’re not saying you shouldn’t try the food these C-rated stalls offer. It’s just best to eat with caution.

3. Be mindful of the queue
If there’s long lines for the latest iPhone release, there’s also long lines when it comes to hawker food! Singaporeans are known to vote using their feet. Meaning, there’s a good reason behind why there’s a long line in front of a particular hawker stall. If you want to try a meal that won’t disappoint, join in the queue and point at what the person before you ordered. Be adventurous during your visit at the Lion City.

4. Try things other than chicken rice
Chicken rice is known to be a staple Singaporean meal option, hence it’s not a surprise to know it is considered as one of the city-state’s national dishes. While trying chicken rice over your visit is ideal – don’t limit yourself to all-chicken rice meals throughout the duration of your stay. Try other local favorites: such as rich noodle soups, fish head curry, oyster omelet, and pig organ soup. That way, you’ll surely get a grasp of the island’s authentic local cuisine.

5. Age does matter!
Older hawker centers are considered to be a better dining option for tourists, since they have no air-conditioning. This allows you to enjoy your meal in a great ambiance with an authentic Singaporean dining feel. Modern and new hawker centers tend to be located within temperature-controlled settings, so you are most likely to pay more and even miss out on some classic, signature local specialties tested through time.

Are there Affordable and Healthy Hawker Center Foods in Singapore?

Singapore won’t be complete without its renowned hawker centers scattered across the island. These hawker stalls dominate the local food scene – with both loyal patrons and foreign tourists eager to taste what each hawker center has to offer. It has even become a significant part of Singapore’s rich dining history.

What’s more fascinating is the good reputation these hawker food items possess. They are served bearing excellent flavors and taste at such affordable prices. The next time you visit Singapore, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank when dining at hawker centers!

Affordable food
You don’t have to go to high-end Singapore restaurants just to taste worthwhile meals. Hawker centers are known to serve authentic and flavorful local Singaporean dishes priced at a very justifiable value. The average meal ranges from around 2 SGD to 10 SGD (for meals with seafood). But most dishes served in hawker centers are priced at 5 – 7 SGD.

Healthy hawker food?
Although hawker food items are notorious for their heavy oil and fat content (like the traditional char kway teow), there are healthy options you can opt for if you want to clean your palate. For instance, Han Kee at the Amoy street food centre offers an amazing fish soup. It’s light, yet it doesn’t compromise on the burst of flavors.
Another healthy food option is the Popiah – filled with carrot, lettuce, grated turnips, cucumber, bean shoots, shallots, and meat. It is all rolled up and served as a deliciously healthy morsel.

Hawker center recommendations
• Tekka Centre – Conveniently located in Little India, the Tekka Centre is famous for serving delectable Halal and Indian food. If you’re craving for the rich flavorful kick of Indian cuisine, then this is the place to be! It is also a wet market where you can buy meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
• Newton Circus – Newton Circus is arguably one of the most affordable food courts located near Orchard Road. Local patrons love the seafood option in this hawker center. Sambal stingray, oyster omelet, and carrot cake are among the food items you must try.
• Tiong bahru – Among the popular hawker center options, Tiong Bahru stands out because of their delectable fish items. You may also opt to enjoy New Zealand and Australian beef at reasonable prices.

• Lau Pa Sat – Located within Singapore’s central area, Lau Pa Sat offers scrumptious local food fit within your budget. The place is famous for their delicious satay meals. It also has a great ambiance for guests to enjoy eating their food.
• Maxwell Road Hawker Centre – If you’re near Chinatown, drop by the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre to satisfy your hunger! It is considered to be one of the best all-round hawker centers in the city-state. With so many meal options to choose from, you will surely have a delightful dining experience at Maxwell.
• Chomp Chomp – Locals love Chomp chomp, so it’s not a surprise that many voted the place as the best hawker center in Singapore. Chomp chomp is packed like sardines almost every evening – with both loyal patrons and tourists visiting the dining center eagerly.

How to Choose the Right POV for Your Article

Let’s say you’re a writer or for some reason have to write about a certain topic, what topic would you write about? This would be quite a wild question starting from out of the blue and deciding on what topic to write about but this could be an actual problem. You could even get writer’s block even before you start. Isn’t that something you would want to avoid? Well, it definitely is.

Thinking of the perfect title to write about is something that involves two factors, both yourself and the available material around you. But hey, there are many different forms of writing. Some people write about fantasy while others write about experiences or what we call, blogging. Some people write for a living and this is definitely something everyone should do once in a while. Not only does this improve your creativity but it also improves and gives you a unique perspective of the world.

Before everything else, you must always put into mind this factor: your relation to the topic.
We will only discuss your relation to the topic and not include the available material because all we are talking about topics that are personal. Your relation to the topic is very important because you have to choose whether or not you are writing from:

• Third Person
The third person perspective means that you are looking and observing things without having to get yourself personally involved with your topic. The third person perspective could be a great way to write about news or things that happen around you that may not necessarily affect you. An example of this is writing about how the Hawker Centers work.

• Second Person
This one is conversational but also leaves a little room for a healthy distance with the subject. Second person is a great way to get a somewhat personal but also a not-so-opinionated view of your topic. This one is hard to use because of how it is in the middle of being a hundred percent involved and a hundred percent detached.

• First Person
The first person perspective is the most involved and is usually the most dangerous. This is where most people mistake your opinion for calculated research. The first person perspective focuses on just the right amount of opinion while talking about a certain topic. Opinion is also the hardest information to digest because of how abundant they are. The danger in this though is putting your opinion out without actual basis. This happens a lot and has really mislead quite a few people.

Here are a lot of ways for you to be able to improve your writing especially when that piece of writing is something personal and important to you.

The 3 Trendies Careers in Singapore

The thing about careers is for you to land a god career, you should also put into mind your competition. Of course, for careers with fewer professionals and high demands, the easier it is to accelerate and succeed. Supply and demand is the law that dictates the value of everything. If there is an abundance of something, the value of that thing will automatically drop.

Why is this? Well, this is because people want what they can’t have. If we apply this to careers, we can say that companies need what they don’t have. Your value is determined by your ability to do things others can’t or you being the best compared to others. This is how a career is built. It takes years and years to perfectly mold someone into the person a certain company needs but then again, it is definitely worth it!

Sadly, career demands change over time but luckily for you, we have done our research on careers that are still going to be in demand for another 10 years, this is a great opportunity to start because although competition already exists, there are still ways for you to become irreplaceable in the eyes of the company.

Here are a few trendy careers in Singapore:

1. IT Security Consultant
Maybe you’ve always had your trust issues with your internet and would go to great lengths to protect you privacy. If yes, this is definitely a career path for you. IT security consultant is a job for those of you who can see pas the cracks of everything when others only see smooth walls. The good thing about this career path is that everyone is still trying to get online and this includes major companies. Once everyone is online, they need protection.

2. Quality Lead Manager
If you have an eye for finer quality and just won’t settle for less, this could be the perfect job for you! Being able to determine if a product is of low quality and high quality is a very important part of the company because nowadays, everyone wants to be better than everyone else without having to put out the most effort. Find better and more efficient ways to improve the quality of products for all of us!

3. Digital Marketing Manager
How long have you been using social media? If you’re able to use social media to your advantage and capturing everyone by attention, this job may be perfect for you! Of course popularity isn’t the only thing that’s important, it’s also in how you understand people and knowing what catches certain people’s attention.
There are so many other career paths in Singapore that you should check out but these three are so far the best trends going on right now!

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