by Lester Johnson
Every time I open a newspaper, I read a new piece of advice about what I’m doing wrong. I don’t drink enough water, I sleep too much, I don’t sleep enough … it can get depressing. So I decided to do some research myself and find out if I should really feel so guilty.
I’ve always felt bad because I find it difficult to get up in the morning – mainly because I can never sleep before 2 a.m. So while my colleagues arrive for work looking bright and fresh at eight o’clock, I arrive at ten, feeling grumpy. And everyone knows that people who get up early more productive, right? Wrong actually, according to a report from the University of Liege. Two hours after waking, researchers found that early birds and night owls are equally productive. But ten hours after waking, night owls like me are less tired and better able to concentrate! So next time I’m late for work I won’t apologise, I’ll just tell my boss that I’m a night owl – and that’s good!
Like many people, I constantly worry about the amount of exercise I take … or rather don’t take. I know I should spend hours in the gym every day and run marathons just for fun. After all, there’s no such thins as too much exercise, is there? Actually, according to a recent study, there is. Researchers studied top athletes who are now in their fifties and found that some of them had damage to their heart muscles. Men of the same age who didn’t exercise so intensively had no damage. So perhaps I’m doing the best thing by sitting at home on the sofa? Unfortunately not. It seems the best advice is still the old saying: moderation in all things.
Everyone says that young people spend too much time on the internet, and as someone who grew up with technology – a ‘digital native’ – I often worry that I might be an internet addict. But apparently, a recent study of Americans shows that it’s not young people who go online the most, it’s the middle-aged. The study found that18- to 24- year-olds spend around 32 hours a week online, but for 45- to 54-year-olds it’s 40 hours! However, it’s not all good news for digital natives. According to research, we are not as good as older people at actually using the internet. It seems we are too impatient and believe what we read too easily!
I’m not the kind of person who can talk on the phone, shop online and cook dinner all at the same time, but I keep reading that multitasking is an essential modern skill. Does this mean there is something wrong with me? I googled the subject and felt a little better. It seems, after all, that the human brain can’t do several things at the same time: it can only switch quickly from one task to another. If you try to do several things at once, experts say that you simply do each thing less well. According to workplace psychologist Steven Nguyen, we should stop worrying about multitasking. ‘Concentrate on what you are doing and do fewer things better,’ he says. Now that’s advice that I’m happy to follow!
Ref. Cutting Edge Student Book p.10